To Go to School in L.A.

“We don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or to reopening K-12 schools at least until after the election, in early November. When we just look at the timing of everything, it seems to us a more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re going to be where we are now until we are done with the election.” 

That was Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer, in a recent conference call to educators and school nurses. Director Ferrer did not outline the science behind keeping schools closed before November 3 and opening them after November 3. Parents and students might note that the key date is a political event, a national election, and has nothing to do with science. Unlike her predecessor, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Barbara Ferrer is not a medical doctor. Even so, the non-doctor might have cited the experience of Sweden, which did not shut down schools for students under the age of 16. 

As Dave Lawler notes at Axios, Sweden’s school policy was based on the belief that “students faced little risk from coronavirus and far more from missing months of school,” and the risk to teachers was also “lower than many feared.” Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Demark shunned Sweden’s no-lockdown approach, but “health officials in Denmark and Norway came around to Sweden’s stance on schools.” The decision had nothing to do with any election or other political considerations, which seem to take priority in the United States. 

In July, for example, Washington, DC, mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed that schools would be closed until at least November 6, three days after the presidential election. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci all warned of dire secondhand consequences if children are not brought back to school. Teacher unions, on the other hand, have threatened to strike if schools reopen, and that was a factor in Bowser’s decision. In the style of Barbara Ferrer, the mayor cited no scientific data that might justify the action. 

As this confirms, politicians and health officials alike are playing politics with the pandemic, and it goes far beyond the schools. For further study see “The Covid Coup,” by Antonio Codevilla.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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