Nearly 4,200 schools will be closed or condemned to remote learning this week as officials fear the low-risk omicron variant of the coronavirus.
School districts across the country are grappling with how to move forward with coronavirus protocols as it appears clear that new variants will continue to come and virtual learning and mask mandates are extremely detrimental to the education, social development, and mental health of children.
This week so far, 4,192 schools have decided to cancel in-person learning solely due to the coronavirus. Last week, 5,462 schools closed for the same reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study indicating omicron is 91% less fatal than the delta variant.
Reminder: School closures hurt students the most.
Any news story that doesn't include that fundamental point is missing the mark.
— Free to Learn (@ftlcoalition) January 13, 2022
Even while Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona appears to support opening schools to in-person learning, going as far as to say he believes “very firmly and very passionately” that “students belong in the classroom and that we can do it safely,” teachers’ unions across the country are fighting to keep schools closed.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is doubling down on our commitment to keeping all schools safely open for full-time in-person learning with the following actions:
— Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) January 12, 2022
The rapid spread of the omicron variant, despite its mildness, has caused unions to demand frequent testing of teachers and students, options for in-person learning, and other procedures that ultimately deny students in-person learning and social opportunities — all of which is detrimental to the health of children.
The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said school-aged children “have experienced a major disruption in their lives, including disruptions to academic structure, participation in activities, peer interactions, lifestyle, and overall physical and emotional health” because of coronavirus policies. Furthermore, 98 percent of pediatricians reported increased anxiety among patients, 95 percent reported an increase in depression, and “even more concerning” is the 58 percent increase in suicidal ideation among children and adolescents.
Chicago’s teachers’ union staged a walkout and cancelled school for several days, even to the point of being at odds with Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D). Lightfoot said the union was holding children “hostage” by not allowing teachers to teach, adding that she “will not allow them to compromise the future of this generation of CPS students. That is not going to happen.”
And while Chicago’s union appeared ruthless in their fight to keep schools closed, with one delegate vowing to “report” teachers who wanted to teach and put them on a “list,” they decided Monday evening to resume in-person classes while maintaining that Lightfoot is “relentlessly stupid.”
The CTU is ready to target any dissenters and put them on a "list"
One of the people in this picture follows this account and I'm curious to see if they'll see it. pic.twitter.com/ImIBp7Wz4V
— 16th & 17th District Chicago Police Scanner (@CPD1617Scanner) January 8, 2022
Teachers’ unionists like American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten appear to imply that “educators” get the blame for the lockdown advocates, when in many cases teachers would prefer to work but are barred by union bureaucrats.
I’ve seen a lot of blame placed on the shoulders of educators & school support staff as #omicron spikes to unprecedented levels & schools grapple with staying in person. I want to take a step back & just attest to the herculean work educators have done https://t.co/u1QOMEDDXV
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) January 8, 2022
Weingarten, whom the left has tried to portray as a “champion” for reopening schools but who has also worked tirelessly to keep schools closed, maintains that while “no one wants schools closed” they cannot be opened until all the demands are met and Lightfoot moves “heaven and earth to get it right in Chicago.”
As Breitbart News reported, virtual learning has caused social and educational development stunting, as well as a drastic spike in mental health issues among school-aged children.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.