Growing opposition among American students, parents and educators as infections and deaths skyrocket

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In the six weeks since schools in the United States reopened in late July, the severity of the Delta variant in children has been clearly established as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase. According to a weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there were 203,962 official new cases in children for the week ending August 26, a 500% increase since July 22, as cases were around 38,000. Mississippi and Hawaii currently have the highest infection rates in children, accounting for over 25% of all cases in their respective states.

The report also shows that at least 425 child deaths have been reported since March 2020, with 76 deaths since July 22. It should be noted that Michigan, Rhode Island, Montana, most of New York and South Carolina do not report an age distribution of COVID-19 deaths, indicating an undercoverage of data.

Analyn Tapia, left, and Dezirae Espinoza hold their supplies as they wait to enter the building for the first day of classroom learning since the start of the pandemic at Garden Place Primary School on Monday, August 23, 2021, in the north of Denver. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that there had been an 11.5% increase this week in child hospitalizations, with a current seven-day average of 360 pediatric patients admitted to hospitals. hospitals across the United States. In total, there have been 53,474 youth hospitalizations since August 1, 2020, according to the CDC.

In the midst of the current wave, children’s hospitals across the United States are currently at or near capacity. Doctors are warning of an influx of patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in the coming weeks. There have been officially a total of 4,404 cases of MIS-C and 37 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Since symptoms of MIS-C typically occur four to six weeks after infection, reports of diagnoses often occur after an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Educators and school staff have also not been spared this tragedy as infections and deaths continue to rise. In the absence of comprehensive aggregate data available to the public on educator deaths, reports have been compiled by concerned individuals that provide insight into the immense amount of deaths that have resulted from the reopening of schools. The Twitter account, “School Staff Lost to Covid,” (@LostToCovid) aggregates confirmed deaths of educators and staff through local news media and notes that at least 1,600 educators and staff Kindergarten to Grade 12 workers and retirees have died from COVID-19.

The account also notes that at least 181 school staff have died since July 1, 2021. That does not include the recent deaths of fifteen teachers and staff at Miami-Dade County public schools, two teachers in Miami-Dade County. District of Indian River County in Florida and two teachers at District of Connally Junior High School in Waco, Texas.

Tens of thousands of students and staff have been quarantined in recent weeks due to infections or possible exposure to the virus. In Mississippi alone, more than 24,000 students and staff are in quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 from August 23 to 27. Nearly 4,000 students in kindergarten to grade 12 tested positive last week in the state.

The increase in the number of cases has also resulted in partial and short-term school closures in the United States. According to a school closure tracker published by the District Administration newspaper, at least 20 states have reported multiple school closures due to high infection rates. This includes entire school districts in Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas.

Despite a massive increase in cases, many large districts have remained open, citing “mitigation measures” as a supposed way to protect students. These measures, often consisting of mandatory masks, limited testing and improved ventilation, are grossly inadequate and are already leading to massive infections in many districts.

In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the country with more than 600,000 students, has recorded at least 5,936 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff since schools reopened there. has two weeks on August 16. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 5,207 infections were identified among students and 729 cases among school personnel between August 15 and August 29.

LAUSD has been hailed as one of the “safest” districts due to its mandatory weekly testing program and other mitigating measures. Given the current infection rate in the district and the high transmission rates in LA County, the mitigation measures in place in the district have proven to be inadequate and unable to be fully implemented. Weekly testing has not been consistent across the district, and the fact that there is an 18-72 hour period during which an infected person can shed the virus and not produce a positive test, will cause a large number of infected students will not be detected. In addition, only close contacts are advised to quarantine, and if an individual is vaccinated, they do not have to quarantine them, despite the fact that those vaccinated can still be contagious.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest district in the United States with more than 300,000 students, reopened last Monday and are already seeing cases in schools. Additionally, the district had promised parents and affected staff that they would implement a large-scale plan for weekly COVID-19 testing on all students and staff, but district officials announced Thursday that the program would not run at full capacity until a few weeks after the start of the school year.

Opposition is growing in response to the catastrophic conditions in schools among students, parents and school staff. Students at Bessemer City High School in Bessemer, Alabama, held a protest on Thursday against the continued demand to learn in person after dozens of students tested positive for COVID-19 in the school district. The protest prompted officials to temporarily switch to distance learning on Friday, with plans for next week not being determined at the time of writing.

In Hawaii, parents have organized a “Mass Home Students Movement” to keep their children at home indefinitely amid serious school safety concerns and massive infections.

Parents in Knox County schools in Tennessee also staged a strike and protest this week to keep students safe. As of August 27, more than 8,600 students were absent due to quarantine for infection or exposure to COVID-19.

A recent promotional video from the Tennessee Department of Education praising the reopening of state schools drew strong opposition from parents. In the video, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn grotesquely states: “The smell of new books, clean hallways, the energy and the feeling of being back in classrooms with their friends and family. teachers. It’s such a special time, and I’m so excited for our condition.

Multiple protests have been organized across the United States by parents to oppose insufficient levels of mitigation in schools, including mask warrants and social distancing. In addition, school workers recently expressed their opposition to unsafe working conditions.

In Georgia, more than 50 bus drivers from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) went on strike last Friday over safety concerns and low wages. In Chicago, 73 CPS bus drivers resigned last Friday over the same concerns, leading to a shortage of 500 drivers for the start of the school year on Monday. More than 2,100 CPS students were unable to make it to school on Monday, and the district provided families with an allowance of $ 500 to $ 1,000 to call Lyft or Uber to take their children to school.

Bus drivers are a part of the workforce particularly affected by the dangers of the pandemic as they have been subjected to dangerously overcrowded and enclosed spaces on top of incredibly low wages. The @LostToCovid Twitter account reported that at least 171 school bus drivers have died during the pandemic. As recently as last week, two bus drivers from Texas and a bus driver from Florida succumbed to the virus. Phyllis LeFlore, president of AFSCME Local 1184 in Miami-Dade, Fla., Told local media: “We’re losing, what, about seven employees a week to COVID. Now everyone is afraid.

The line of the entire political establishment and ruling elite in response to the pandemic continues to be to apply the policy of collective immunity to the people for the sake of profit. Recognizing the overwhelming opposition to current conditions resulting from the brutal reopening of schools and businesses, the ruling elite are now promoting inadequate “mitigation” measures as a pretext to keep schools open and enforce collective immunity. Politicians, district officials, and union bureaucrats across the United States are knowingly throwing children and staff into deadly classrooms.

Not a single additional death of a child or school employee is acceptable! The only viable strategy is the eradication of the virus, based on policies put forward by leading scientists and epidemiologists.

Eradication involves the universal deployment of all weapons in the arsenal of COVID-19 measures to eradicate the virus once and for all. This involves closing all non-essential schools and businesses, and providing full financial assistance to all affected workers and small business owners. Mass vaccinations, mandatory masks, universal testing, contact tracing, isolation of infected patients and other measures must be implemented in each country.

Parents, educators, school staff and students across the United States and beyond must oppose the reopening of schools as part of a globally coordinated struggle of the working class to eradicate COVID-19.


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