Should The U.S. Open The Schools?

As the second wave of COVID-19 is rocking our country, one of the great debates going on is the one about opening our nation’s schools this fall.

A number of countries around the world have already announced their intention to do so and there are a few which never shut down.

The president has called for the opening of the schools this fall and is reportedly pressuring state governors to follow through. I don’t know his reasoning, but I imagine it’s something like that of reopening our businesses. At some point we have to come to terms with this new world we’re living in and figure out how to thrive. Keeping everyone locked up at home doesn’t do that.

At the same time, I happen to live in the county which has recently been recognized as having the highest COVID growth rate. Not only that, but my two daughters are teachers. So, I’ll have to say, this debate has definitely caught my attention.

It makes sense to try and reopen our schools if the pandemic is more or less over. But I can’t see where it is. What I do see is that there are states which are doing better than others right now. If you compare the daily infection rate between the various states, you can see some marked differences. New York, which has led the country in overall cases, is seeing a very clear decline in cases during this second wave. On the other hand, California, which had a much lower case count in the first wave, is seeing a much higher rate of new infections now.

This contradicts what many pundits are saying, pointing to red states opening up “too early” in their viewpoint, as being the reason why some states are suddenly seeing a spike in COVID cases. If all you look at Texas and Florida, you might come up with that conclusion; but California? They’ve been one of the most restrictive on opening up and right now they’re running almost as many new cases per day, as either Texas or Florida, besides still having way more total cases.

Looking at this, it seems clear to me that the debate about opening schools shouldn’t be a national one, but rather a whole bunch of local ones. Even trying to do it at the state level is unrealistic, as the percentage of cases in the big cities is much higher than in smaller communities.

Schools = Germ Factories

I don’t have any specific statistics or studies to point to, but I seriously doubt that there is anywhere else where the disease spreads as rapidly as a school. A couple of months ago meatpacking plants were shutting down because of the spread of COVID-19; but the spread they were experiencing was probably nothing, compared to the spread we will see when our schools open again.

Many are saying that the disease doesn’t affect children, but that’s just not so. The reason we’ve seen so few children come down with COVID-19, probably has a lot to do with parents are keeping their children at home, where they are not interacting with other children. Do people actually think that’s not going to change when we put those children in classrooms?

While there are clearly fewer children who have contracted the disease, than there are adults, a lot of that can be attributed to lack of risk. Many adults are going to work, going shopping, picking up take-out at restaurants. Children aren’t. Yet in California, 8.4% of all COVID-19 cases are children under 18. That’s not an insignificant percentage. If we project that nationwide, we’re looking at the potential for 6.19 million children coming down with the disease. While children are apparently much less likely to die, what about the long-term effects of the disease? It’s already known that COVID-19 can cause limited long-term lunch capacity and kidney complications. Is that the legacy we want to give our children?

I get it; parents and administrators want to get the kids back in schools. I just don’t know that it’s practical to do that right now. How much risk are we putting our children in, if we send them back to school?

Let’s throw this into the equation as well. We all know parents who have sent their children to school, even though the kids were sick. Does anyone actually think that nobody will do that with COVID? All it takes is one child who has the disease and a whole classroom can come down with it, just like the flu. Children aren’t focused on being sanitary and they’re not suddenly going to become that way. Some might actually try to spread the disease.

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Have you heard the new game that teens are playing? They’re having “COVID parties” where a group gets together and invites someone who has the disease. They all contribute to a pot and whoever comes down with the disease first gets the pot. Great idea if you want to risk dying for a few bucks.

If this is what our teens are doing, what do you think grade school kids will be doing? I’ll guarantee there will be those who “jokingly” chase each other around, pretending to try and spread the disease. What if a child who is asymptomatic does that and it turns out they actually get others sick?

It’s not only the children, it’s the teachers as well. Depending on grade and school district, our schools run a ratio of from one teacher per every 20 pupils to one teacher per every 35. With the current rules about self-quarantining if someone comes into contact with a suspected case of COVID, how long do they think it will be before all of a school’s teachers are out on quarantine?

Making Our Schools Safe

The concept that people are trying to push is making the schools safe so that our kids can go back to school. That sounds good, in theory; but I just wonder how good it is going to work in practice. Who is going to disinfect all those classrooms; the teachers? How is any teacher supposed to disinfect an entire classroom in a five minute passing period between classes?

School administrators and school boards are doing a lot of talking about how to make the schools safe. Not surprisingly, teachers are not being invited to these discussions. So the only people who really know what it is like to deal with those children in the classroom, are being kept out of the process.

The general philosophy in the schools is to dump every new requirement on the teachers and this one isn’t going to be any different. Keeping our kids safe is going to become their responsibility and they’re probably going to be given very little support in doing so. What will really happen is that teachers will become the scapegoat when there’s a surge in cases amongst school-age children.

Let’s take a look at some of the measures that are being discussed to “make our schools safe”

  • Lowering classroom capacity to 15 students – The average classroom is 900 feet square. In order to have a social distancing of six feet between students, the maximum capacity is 9 students, not 15. For classrooms where tables are used instead of desks, that is probably more like six students. What are we going to do with all the other children who don’t fit in the classrooms?
  • Teachers social distancing from students – How is a kindergarten teacher supposed to tie a student’s shoes, while staying six feet away?
  • Masks – Does anyone really think that kids are going to keep masks on all day?
  • Students not sharing materials – Who is going to buy all those materials? Where is the money going to come from? Most teachers have to buy their classroom materials out of their own pockets because the classroom budget is only $200.
  • Disinfecting classrooms – Without any extra staff to do that, how will it get done? As I already said, teachers don’t have time between classes. Besides, where are the disinfectants going to come from? Teachers were already having to ask parents to send Clorox wipes and Kleenex for classroom use.
  • PPE – Are the schools going to provide masks for the children who don’t bring their own?
  • Teacher quarantine – Are the schools going to pay teachers who are required to quarantine? If they don’t, wouldn’t some still go to work, if they just have a minor case? Who is going to teach those classes while the teachers are at home? There was already a shortage of substitute teachers, there won’t be enough to go around.
  • Online education – How are teachers supposed to teach in the classroom and prepare online classes for students who are staying home, at the same time?

Of course, all this ignores the risk to the teachers, some of whom are already immunocompromised. How are the schools going to protect those teachers, or are they expected to be willing to risk their lives to keep their jobs?

Obviously, the debate isn’t over yet. Just trying to answer the questions I’ve raised above could keep it going on for months. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of good ideas to make it possible to open our schools, without creating a situation where we are putting our children and our teachers at risk.

Perhaps the solution is to reinvent school. COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, especially considering that antibodies only stay in the system for a few weeks. This means that the infamous “herd immunity” that’s been talked about is impossible. With that being the case, it looks like we need to come up with a different way to educate our children.

What Should You Do?

I don’t have an answer for the educational system in general unless it is to switch over totally to distance learning. That’s working well for college students, so it might work for primary and secondary education as well, with some appropriate modifications.

But right now I’m concerned about you and me, what we’re going to do with our children. Mine are grown now, but two of them are teaching in the schools, as well as one son-in-law. So I’m just as concerned about their safety, as you might be about your children’s.

Most of us who are preppers are conservatives by nature. That goes beyond our political beliefs and covers how we look at life in general. We’re not the kind to take a risk, at least not without weighing those risks pretty carefully beforehand. With that being our nature, it just doesn’t make sense that any of us would be in a hurry to send out kids back to school before there is some definite proof that it is safe for us to do so.

That means opting to keep our children home and taking charge of their education ourselves. Since most school districts are going to be offering some sort of online instruction, this is a very viable option. But I’ll have to say, I’m not so sure that what the schools are offering is enough for our kids to keep up; we may need to augment that.

I’m a retired homeschooler, so I know something about educating kids at home. First of all, it doesn’t take eight hours a day. It doesn’t even take five hours a day. Most kids can get their work done in two to three hours if they’re at least somewhat diligent. You don’t have to be sitting there with them that whole time either. The idea is to get them doing as much on their own as possible so that all you have to do is plan their lessons and make sure they do them. That shouldn’t take more than an hour a day.

There’s a plethora of educational material available online. You can probably find enough educational videos on YouTube alone, to make up a 12-year curriculum or more. There are also a lot of teacher resources, which are available for anyone who wants them.

The idea is to find things that will teach your children what they need to learn and then let them take their lessons online. Use a variety of videos, both to increase the likelihood of having an instructor who will teach it in a way your child will understand and to reinforce the lessons. Then print out a few worksheets for them to do, so that you can check that they’ve learned. That’s it.

For high school students, you’re going to have to go a bit farther, coming up with assignments for them to do, specific assignments that require them to do a bit of research. But that’s a necessary skill anyway, especially for those who are going to go on to college. Assign them a paper on whatever subject they are interested in and let them loose on the internet to learn about it on their own. In other words, let them self-educate, rather than trying to be their teacher. Trust me, it works.

The one thing that might cause some problems in all this is discipline. Families who homeschool their children tend to be families where parents discipline their children. Through that, they teach their children to be self-disciplined. That’s what’s needed for them to educate themselves.

Maybe sometime down the road, we’ll be able to send our kids back to school. I’m not sure. It may end up being that we, as a society, opt for distance learning, reinventing our school system. If that’s the case, then you’ll be ahead of the curve. If not, and the schools are actually able to get back to “normal,” then you might find that your kids ask to be kept home, as they end up preferring learning at home, over being in a classroom. You never know.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Not just open the schools, but put an end to everything about the virus scam.
    OPEN UP EVERYTHING and government GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!!!

    • Here’s a mysterious little thing to think about on whether we’re being scammed, or it’s all a big hoax or whatever dialogue you choose.
      Ok. Go to your Google search bar and type in any 3-diget number, then type in the words new cases.
      (Eg; Say 319 new cases.) Then look at all the data related with time and dates to that particular number.
      Then, clear search engine and try it again and again and as many times as you wish, entering a new 3-digit each time, and of course always include the same two words after your subsequent number, new cases.
      This is very mysterious to say the least when you really examine the data each time.
      See for yourselves and you decide..Real or ????

    • It’s wonderful to see somebody that gets it!
      God bless you man!

    • Bob. I agree 250%.

  • The average class room size in 30 square feet? That would be 5ft by 6ft. You couldn’t get one student in that class room!

  • IMO It’s ok if young people get CoVid. For the vast majority it’s just a cold or Jess For those families who fear germs Or have low vitamin levels, they can do a learn at home option. For teachers who are at risk or have families at risk we can offer work at home options. Or if there are not enough work at home options they can stay home and get paid. We need herd immunity which only happens if most people get the disease. On that note we also need to encourage hound people to get it during warm weather when the viral load is lessened by sun and heat. It would be disastrous to wait until late fall to go back to school And work because viral loads go up then.

  • Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention states this: “The ability of this virus to cause significant illness in children “is very, very – very limited.” So, why not open the schools?

    Beyond that, the likelihood of the average person catching this BillGates sponsored virus is about 0.45%, and the likelihood of recovery in the off chance you do catch it is 99.94%. I have a better chance of being struck by lighting….twice….on the same day. The mask is just a muzzle intended to make the masses fearful of each other.

    And, don’t trust anything Fauci has to say, he (along with Gates) has much at stake to keep this ball rolling.

    • Did you see the 4 episode series that The Ruben Report did on Bill Gates?
      If not, I highly recomend it. Great information in it.

      As for the mask…it’s so much more than a muzzle. It’s a way to dehumanize us so that we trust eachother less. People don’t communicate as well withone on, so it causes problems with that in every aspect of life where people are wearing it. It’s a way to gage how compliant the population is. And now, in leftist states where tyrants rule, it’s a way to criminalize people who chose not to drop their oxygen levels.

      • Right!

  • I feel the country must open or become a THIRD world country, thanks to Nancy Pelosi and her friends in Congress we have lost many freedoms we used to enjoy time to throw them all out. Does nancy get any money from their businesses ? If so she is in violation of her own rules !

  • Open only if they educate, not indoctrinate. In any case, let the parents decide (where to spend their children’s education funds.

  • One other thing to think about. If the kids go back to school, and if this is where the majority of virus cases are replicated. The children themselves may have a much higher immune system, allowing them to outlast and survive the virus. But, what about parents, grandparents and infants, whose immune systems are not as well developed, or that are no longer what they once were? These children could who are asymptomatic, or who are strong enough to survive, may pass on the virus to loved ones, and may even be the reason their elderly loved ones get the disease. How is a child going to feel, when they realize that they picked up the virus in school, and brought it home to an elderly loved one, who then dies from the disease? Psychologically, how will this affect the child? Personally, I would rather err on the side of caution. This has nothing to do with political agenda’s. This has to do with common sense. This has to do with looking at the bigger picture. I have a 20 year old son in college, and a 13 year old daughter still in middle school. My son will go back to college this fall, if that is what the university dictates. But, I was given the option of online learning for my daughter. At first, she wanted to go back to school, because she missed her friends. We sat down, and I explained all of the possibilities. She made the wise decision, deciding that for now, she should continue her studies online, for as long as this was an option, or until an effective vaccine or cure are found.

    • The safest thing to do would be to live in a bubble. Just something to think about. Of course that comes with some obvious drawbacks.

      But I would strongly advise caution about that vaccine. I would never even consider taking it, nor would I recommend it to anybody.

      Think about it. This is a vaccine, that is going to be rushed to market in a politically charged time, and the companies manufacturing it are given blanket immunity to any responsibility to its effects.

      Do yourself a favor, and watch the Ruben Report on Bill Gates and his involvement with vaccines. If you’re still eager for that vaccine…well, that’s your call.

  • My husband works as custodian in a middle school in Florida, I am worried about his safety and mine. The parents will have to chose how they want their children to learn, some will succeed with homeschooling some will not. I am grateful I do not have young children in school, but I have a husband that works there, and yes that bothers me. I really believe that we are all going to get “The Virus” sooner or later, and we can’t keep closing businesses. This is being manipulated by the media anyways. And to ‘take down Trump” but in the end we all have to make our own choices. I say OPEN THE DAMN COUNTRY, let’s get this over with. The 1918 Spanish flu lasted about 3 years. That’s how long it will take for Trump to get this country back on its feet, Virus or no virus

  • Has anyone here heard of Doctor Richard Bartlett of Texas successfully treating corona virus patients with Budesonide, an asthma preventer.. Check out the interview with him. It is not surprising that he is being debunked in some quarters.. Big Pharma do not want the truth to get out.

  • In my opinion the virus is over blown. The statistics the show are not true. I was reading the other day that a family of 4 went to be tested, they were there long time that they decided to go home. 2 days later theygot a notice that saying that their tests were positive–they did not have the test;the same same thing happened to 2 other families. What does that tell you it tells me the media some medical clinics are lying about the virus, they want people to be scared and paralyzed so they can be controlled.
    The school should be open,; disinfect the School,and the classrooms daily. Wear your mask and practice Social distance as musch as you can

  • Far too few people seem to understand that this “pandemic” is just the means being used to collapse this country. If it were a real pandemic, they wouldn’t have changed the guidance on listing COD on the death certificates to boost the numbers. A real pandemic would have real death’s in large numbers and bodies would really pile up. We wouldn’t see reports of states having to revise their death counts down because they got caught inflating them. You wouldn’t hear about people having CV19 as COD and not having anything to do with CV19. The info is all over, and all you have to do is look.

    Also, if this disease is as contagious as is being touted, there’s no way to prevent it’s spread. All that can be done is to slow it down. That’s already been done. It’s been done so well that hospitals are hurting for $ due to lack of traffic. Look at financial incentives for hospitals to diagnose CV19…and the creation of a HCPCS code for “suspected covid19.” Sheer insanity. A disease is going to run it’s course. There’s no need for a country to also commit financial suicide. Trump signed off on an additional $6.7 TRILLION of federal debt. That’s 2 full years of regular tax revenue spent in the beginning phase of this problem. That’s more money than Obama spent in a full term. Come on people, wake up. The death toll from financial damage is going to be far worse than anything this virus can do. The biggest difference is, you won’t hear the MSM talking about that.

    Look at the death counts for this “second wave.” Case numbers are markedly increasing…does anybody consider that this is due to increasing testing? Are we really going to cower in our homes for the next 3 years, hiding from a virus that only seems to have an effect on those who have significant risk factors? Are we really going to shut down schools for a disease that hasn’t even targeted children at all. That’s sheer lunacy.

    Finally…to address the “new normal.” If we as a country agree to allow this to be the new normal, then the only thing left to do for this country, is to light the match and walk away to watch it all burn down. Make no mistake people, this is a well engineered plan designed to take this country down. The sad part…it looks like it’s going to work and nobody seems to care enough to dig into the situation and think about facts and reality. We will get the government, and country we deserve.

    • No. The solution is revolution and/or mass protest.

      Human beings deserve a JUST government. Not an unjust kleptocratic tyranny. This a major problem with the USA and probably all democracies. We believe that because we have a hand in choosing our leaders that somehow they are controlled and controllable by us. It’s a mass delusion. Then somehow it is supposed to be our fault that politicians accept bribes, enact unjust “laws,” or pretty much do whatever the “beep” they want to. WHY AREN’T PUBLIC OFFICIAL CRIMINALS BEING PROSECUTED AND/OR RECALLED? There are probably structural/procedural reasons.

      We are now – more than ever – reaping the consequences of bad government. There are probably many people who would believe that the last two words of the previous sentence are an oxymoron. They are certainly part of the problem.

  • It is clear that the media is trying to generate intense fear in our society. They are doing that in order to control us; and why is that? The Democrat leadership in our nation want more than anything else to reclaim the power and control over our lives that they are losing to the Trump administration, and they fear their position will get worse if President Trump is reelected in November. Notice that they won’t debate issues. Why? Because they don’t have answers to the arguments of the other side. So their best chance of winning the election is to make Trump(and the rest of us) look bad, and the coronavirus has given them the most effective way to do that. And the media are part of their team.

    Do you ever hear of statistics of “who is dying?” Or why they die? If we are told the truth about that, we would be far less fearful of this disease. But we don’t, do we? It seems that the vast majority of deaths are in those who have conditions that make them highly at risk of serious outcomes. If over 98 or 99% of those who have gotten this disease have recovered, what does that tell you about how “deadly” it is? All they focus on is the increase in cases, not the rate of deaths to cases, which is going down. And think of how many people die of flu in a bad season; it is similar to this disease, yet we don’t fear it too much. When we get it, we take care of ourselves, and we usually get over it. An epidemiologist and at least one doctor I have heard from say that once about 80% of the population get the virus, it disappears. They say that if all those at great risk stay away from everyone else, and the rest do pretty much what they normally do, the virus would disappear in 4 weeks. Or as that doctor said, the case curve would go up for two weeks, down the next two weeks, and then it would be over. How many months has this been going on already? Also, putting millions of people out of work causes worse consequences than the disease itself does.

    As for the danger of schools being open, look at the results of other countries which have reopened schools, or never closed them. But do you ever hear about that? It makes what we are doing look ridiculous.