Ashish "The pandemic is still with us" Jha+ Your Authors @ashishkjha Physician, researcher, and advocate for the notion that an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion. Director @harvardgh. Soon, Dean @Brown_SPH Jul. 24, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

I want to talk about a conversation I had with my family tonight about opening schools and what it will take

First, lets be clear that schools have enormous benefit for kids.


And it angers me to no end that we have turned this into a political football.


The conversation began over dinner tonight with our 3 kids who range from 8 to 15

My wife and I were clear that we were anxious to see them return to school this fall.


We wanted them back to school because it was really important for their education, their mental health, their overall development

But, we said, we needed to know that they would be safe

And because we cared about their teachers, we needed to know that they would be safe


We live in Middlesex county Massachusetts, where we are adding about 3 new cases / 100K people per day.

That’s pretty low.

That gives us a good chance.

Now we need to ensure that the schools have a good plan for getting them back in safely.


What is a good plan for schools? Lots written on this.

Here are a few: 

So with our kids, we talked about making schools safer:

Improving ventilation, spacing out classrooms, testing for teachers and kids.


We hope that our schools use cafeterias, assembly halls for classrooms. Try to hold some classes outside in September and October.

And we hope they make extra effort for our 8 year old (we love older ones too) bc younger kids benefit tremendously from in person education


We talked about other areas of the country, like Texas, where their cousins live.

The cousins live in Dallas where there are about 40 new cases / 100K / day.

That’s a VERY red hotspot.

No way can they open schools safely right now.


But could the cousins go back to school at all this fall?

Yup, absolutely.

But Dallas would have to do what the White House is recommending: full masking, back to stage 1 (essentially no indoor gatherings) and push for more testing


If Dallas did all that, they may be open schools in late September. May be October. Its worth a shot.

For their kids.

So that was the conversation.

I told them no matter what, there would be no orchestra. That was met with mixed reactions.

They walked away hopeful


Final thoughts

We have a lot of work to do here

We can't rely on federal govt to help

WE have to get community transmission under control

If we do, we can work to make schools safer

I believe testing important layer of defense and should be included if all possible


So please, lets not turn school openings into political football

My kids need to go back to school this fall

Your kids need to go back to school this fall

But not if it isn’t safe

They've suffered being at home.

We can get them back to school. Safely

We owe them that


You can follow @ashishkjha.


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