Science And Data Say School Reopening Is Safe, So Why Do Democrats Oppose It?

Science And Data Say School Reopening Is Safe, So Why Do Democrats Oppose It?

JULY 24, 2020 By Allison Schuster

Although the majority of parents in America are concerned about their children falling behind due to the closure of schools over COVID-19, the split over whether or not to open schools is purely a partisan choice. According to market research and public opinion group Ipsos, 78 percent of Democrats oppose re-opening schools while 79 percent of Republicans support the decision.

Schools have been closed nationwide since the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States in early to mid-March. Since then, scientific research has largely reached a consensus regarding the safety for school-aged children, encompassing all parts of the COVID-19 threat including their risks of development and rates of transmission.

According to the Foundation for Research of Equal Opportunity, maintaining the closure of schools poses expansive threats to the mental, emotional, and physical health of children and their family than the reopening schools could.

“While the risks of COVID-19 in children are low and manageable, the harms of prolonged school closures are high. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ‘The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020,’” the report says.

The science also points to children being at very low risk of hospitalization or death from the novel coronavirus.

“The Center for Disease Control’s most recent report shows 12 pediatric COVID deaths total, compared to 174 pediatric flu deaths this season. In the 2018-2019 flu season there were 400 pediatric deaths, and the 2009 swine flu pandemic killed 2,000 children,” writes Phil Kerpen in The Federalist.

Despite the strong scientific support for sending children back to school next month, democrats still advocate for keeping schools closed and continuing alternate forms of learning.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing back on school openings since early July, when she said, “We don’t want our children to take risks to go to school.”

Democratic governors, including the governor of the state with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are hesitant in opening schools. Cuomo claims his likely pending decision to remain closed is “data-driven.”

“Everybody wants to reopen schools, but you only reopen if it’s safe to reopen, and that’s determined by the data,” Cuomo said. “You don’t hold your finger up and feel the wind, you don’t have an inspiration, you don’t have a dream, you don’t have an emotion–look at the data. We test more and we have more data than any state. If you have the virus under control, reopen. If you don’t have the virus under control, then you can’t reopen.”

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are pushing for schools to go back to teaching in-person. The next COVID-19 relief package, proposed by a Senate Republican, will include $70 billion for K-12 education, half of which is for schools that reopen in-person. It leaves only $5 billion for governors’ discretionary education spending. The education spending accounts for just a small percentage of the $1 trillion total package that is set for negotiations with democrats this upcoming week.

President Donald Trump has also expressed strong support for reopening schools this fall. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the president faces resistance from local leaders, many of whom are Democrats.

“President Trump has repeatedly said he wants schools to reopen fully and that keeping them physically closed hurts the economy and working parents. But some state and local leaders have already postponed school start dates and delayed in-person learning, saying it is too dangerous to have children back on campus where infections could spread,” the article reads.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, however, recommends leaving the decision at the discretion of localities. Trump accused Biden of taking a meager stance for political reason, and thereby putting the health of students second.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany quoted Dr. Scott Atlas in a press briefing, who says the argument to keep schools closed is non-existent when looking at the science. Atlas is a member of Hoover’s Working Group on Health Care Policy and the former head of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical School.

“Of course we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations, are doing it. We are the outlier here,” she said. “The science is very clear on this… The risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu. The science is on our side here. We encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science. Open our schools. It’s very damaging to our children.”

Despite the overwhelming scientific support, the public debate over opening schools in America remains a partisan issue.

Allison Schuster is an intern at The Federalist and is also a rising senior at Hillsdale College working toward a degree in politics and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonShoeStor.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/24/science-and-data-say-school-reopening-is-safe-so-why-do-democrats-oppose-it/

If New York protests OK amid coronavirus, so is outdoor worship, federal judge rules

By Carl Campanile  June 26, 2020

Rev. Steven Soos

Upstate Rev. Steven Soos was among the priests who argued that state leaders "exploited" the pandemic to create "a veritable dictatorship" with lockdown rules.

A federal judge ruled Friday that it was illegal for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de de Blasio to limit religious worship services over the coronavirus while condoning and encouraging mass anti-police brutality protests.

“It is not the judiciary’s role to second guess the likes of Gov. Cuomo or Mayor de Blasio when it comes to decisions they make in such troubling times, that is, until those decisions result in the curtailment of fundamental rights without compelling justification,” Northern District federal Judge Gary Sharpe wrote in a 38-page decision.

Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction barring Cuomo, state Attorney General Letitia James and de Blasio from ordering or enforcing COVID-19 restrictions on outdoor religious worship gatherings.

In stinging language, Sharpe dressed down Cuomo and de Blasio for giving “preferential treatment” to thousands of protesters marching in close quarters in the streets — clearly violating social-distancing rules to curb COVID-19 — while aggressively enforcing limitations on religious gatherings.

“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” wrote Sharpe.

“They could have also been silent. But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”

Sharpe also said faith-based New Yorkers and their religious institutions free speech rights were trampled upon by social-distancing rules set by the state that were more severe than for secular businesses.

new york religious gatherings coronavirus

He noted that offices, retails stores, salons and restaurants are now permitted to open at 50 percent capacity indoors — double the 25 percent indoor limits imposed on churches and synagogues.

“These secular businesses/activities threaten defendants’ interest in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to a similar or greater degree than those of plaintiffs’, and demonstrate that the 25% indoor capacity limitation on houses of worship is underinclusive and triggers strict scrutiny review,” Sharpe wrote.

The case was recently brought by two Catholic priests and a trio of Orthodox Jews, who sued de Blasio, Cuomo and James — accusing them of an “unprecedented abuse of power” in shuttering houses of worship while supporting mass protests.

Upstate priests Rev. Steven Soos and Rev. Nicholas Stamos and Brooklyn Jewish congregants Elchanan Perr, Daniel Schonborn and Mayer Mayerfeld argued New York’s leaders “exploited the COVID-19 pandemic” to create “a veritable dictatorship” with their lockdown rules.

And the judge pointed to another example in Cuomo’s orders — allowing 150 people to gather for school graduations.

“This is an express exemption from the 10- or 25-person outdoor limits that apply to other situations,” he wrote, adding, “There is nothing materially different about a graduation ceremony and a religious gathering such that defendants’ justifications for a difference in treatment can be found compelling.”

The plaintiffs hailed the ruling as a victory for religious freedom.

“We are pleased that Judge Sharpe was able to see through the sham of Gov. Cuomo’s ‘Social Distancing Protocol’ which went right out the window as soon as he and Mayor de Blasio saw a mass protest movement they favored taking to the streets by the thousands,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Ferrara, special counsel to the Thomas More Society.

“Suddenly, the limit on ‘mass gatherings’ was no longer necessary to ‘save lives.’ Yet they were continuing to ban high school graduations and other outdoor gatherings exceeding a mere 25 people. This decision is an important step toward inhibiting the suddenly emerging trend of exercising absolute monarchy on pretext of public health. What this kind of regime really meant in practice is freedom for me, but not for thee.”

A Cuomo spokesman said the governor was reviewing the decision.

https://nypost.com/2020/06/26/if-new-york-protests-ok-so-are-outside-prayer-services-judge/

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