Rep. Mike Gallagher Slams School Shutdowns: ‘Much More Harmful to Children than COVID-19’

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) speaks to reporters after a House Republican Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives are expected to have a vote later today on legislation which would keep the government from shutting down on September 30. (Photo …
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) urged for unity in the face of endless fear and further school closures, saying it is “not March 2020.” He is calling shutdowns “a complete disaster” and far more harmful to children than the coronavirus while deeming remote learning an unviable alternative to classroom education and a “recipe for student failure.”

In an exclusive statement made to Breitbart News on Tuesday, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) blasted recent pushes for further school shutdowns, calling such policies “a complete disaster.”

“The simple fact is that school shutdowns are much more harmful to children than COVID-19 is, and by once again closing down schools, we’re blatantly ignoring this reality,” he said.

“Shame on anyone who is allowing their own fear or political agenda to let our kids fall further behind,” he added.

Gallagher’s remarks follow a recent video statement he released the prior day slamming recent announcements from Wisconsin school districts and others informing of their switching to remote learning due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Noting the recent surge in the COVID-19 omicron variant, of which he said, “it seems like everyone has it — even those who have been double and triple vaccinated,” Gallagher blasted the president for his handling of the pandemic in light of his previous promises.

“It’s fair to say that President Biden has failed to ‘shut down the virus’ as he promised and has seemingly squandered the trillions of dollars allocated for coronavirus relief, turning down efforts to ramp up the production of rapid at-home tests and failing to make it easy to get treatments like monoclonal antibodies,” he stated.

“Instead, the administration spent the last year just demonizing the unvaccinated, pushing unconstitutional mandates, and allowing [White House Chief Medical Adviser] Dr. [Anthony] Fauci to further shred the credibility of our public health establishment, which was all unproductive,” he added.

Noting that “more people have now died under President Biden’s coronavirus watch than President Trump’s,” he blamed the current situation on the president, who as a candidate said, “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”

“Because of all this, many institutions are now considering shutting down again or they are reimposing mitigation strategies that didn’t work before,” Gallagher said.

“For example, in [Washington,] DC they just announced a city-wide vaccination entry requirement for indoor facilities,” he added. “We’ve also had college football bowl games canceled, NHL games postponed, [and] colleges that are 99% vaccinated and filled with young people shutting down.”

Stating that Americans can “almost feel the fear again,” he accused the media of seeking profit by “stoking the fear” and “pushing the narrative” that the current scenario resembles the beginning of the pandemic.

“But here is the thing: it’s not March 2020,” he said. “We have way more weapons in our arsenal than we did back then.”

“We have treatments, we have vaccines, we have hospitals that have protocols that work, and we now have a good deal of immunity (natural and otherwise) built into the population,” he added.

Calling on Americans to not “fall for the fear game,” he claimed that, “We have the tools we need to continue to live our lives while protecting the vulnerable,” as he challenged those who disagree to at least oppose school closures.

“[I]f you disagree with me, at the very least, can we agree that we cannot shut down schools again?” he said. “We cannot shut down schools again — this was our biggest blunder and shame on us if we repeat it again.”

“We can’t afford to inject that fear into our kid’s classrooms or allow them to fall further behind,” he added.

Gallagher also argued that remote learning could not replace in-person education.

“I’m sorry but remote learning is not a substitute for being in the classroom, especially for young kids,” he said. “Remote learning is a euphemism for school shutdowns and that is a recipe for student failure.”

“Sitting in front of a screen all day is not learning,” he added.

He also argued that remote learning, relative to the rich, punishes poor students.

“Rich people can do remote work. Rich people can run away to their beach houses with a bunch of iPads and high-speed internet and probably hire private tutors, while they sit there wondering who stocks the shelves at Whole Foods,” he said.

In contrast, he said, “Working-class people have to work, in person” while their children “need to be in school, in-person, with teachers, and with other students.”

“Not even Biden’s education secretary [Miguel Cardona] wants to shut down schools,” he added.

Calling for unity, Gallagher reiterated the need for schools to avoid closures for childrens’ sake.

Markeata West, left, holds her daughter, Justice, 6, as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from Dr. Eugenio Fernandez at Asthenis Pharmacy in Providence, R.I., Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Markeata West, left, holds her daughter, Justice, 6, as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 from Dr. Eugenio Fernandez at Asthenis Pharmacy in Providence, RI, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

“So please, at a time when this country seems divided on everything, can we at a minimum agree on the fact that schools must stay open?” he asked. “We can’t live in fear, or allow this fear to mess up our kids.”

“At this point in the pandemic, we should be trying as hard as we can to teach our kids courage, not fear. They’ve learned fear for the past two years,” he added. “Courage is confronting the problem, not running away to Rehoboth or blaming someone else.”

Claiming President Biden’s original federal solution to the pandemic failed, Gallagher called the president’s recent admission that no such solution exists “a step forward.”

“You see part of courage is admitting when you’ve failed,” he said. “We need the courage to see that going back to the top-down, shut down, lockdown strategy that failed before will fail again.”

“There is no federal solution for coronavirus and for most things in our lives,” he added. “Recognizing that is a cause for courage, not fear.”

Gallagher concluded by calling on Americans to “take charge” of their lives and overcome endless fears.

“We need to take charge of our own health, our own lives, and our own children, and not spend the rest of our lives locked inside because of fear,” he said.

In a Wednesday statement addressing the Chicago Teachers Union recent vote to return to remote learning in Chicago, Gallagher said the union should “be ashamed of itself.”

“The simple fact is remote learning is a joke and does more harm than good for our children,” he said. “But when it comes to keeping kids in the classroom, it seems that the only people who don’t understand this are the teachers unions.”

“Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government have to come together to ensure what’s happened in Milwaukee, Madison, and now Chicago doesn’t continue to happen in school districts across the country,” he added.

Rep. Gallagher’s warnings come as school districts nationwide grapple with coronavirus protocols as the arrival of new variants becomes an expected norm.

This week, over 3,200 schools will be closed or condemned to remote learning as officials fear the low-risk omicron variant.

As Breitbart News reported, as a result of the situation, many parents are seeking alternatives to public schooling, with enrollment declining as parents favor private or homeschooling.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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