Thirteen countries, with a total of nearly 291 million students, have closed schools nationwide because of the coronavirus, most notably in China. But it’s unclear what role children play in the spread of the coronavirus, and some question if the closures are necessary.
The Wall Street Journal: Global Medical Mystery: Can Classrooms Spread Coronavirus?
The spread of a novel coronavirus has triggered a wave of school closures around the world. But a public-health mystery over what role children may play in spreading the disease has led officials to apply the strategy unevenly—catching parents and teachers by surprise and sowing confusion about whether classrooms are safe. The school-closure strategy, part of the established arsenal for slowing epidemics, was quickly adopted in countries with major coronavirus outbreaks like China and South Korea. Other countries, including Iran, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, since followed suit. This week, Italy imposed a nationwide shutdown that impacts some 8.4 million students and Washington state closed some schools, too. (Schechner and Kostov, 3/6)
The Washington Post: With Japan’s Schools Closed In Coronavirus Fight, The New Lessons Are In Managing Family Stress
A week after Japan closed its schools in an attempt to check the spread of coronavirus, Yuko Hashimoto is still struggling to figure out child care for her three children. She and her husband each spent a day working from home, but that is not a full-time option. So on Thursday, the kids took the train across Tokyo to her mother’s house, a 90-minute journey each way. On Monday and Tuesday, Hashimoto left them lunch. The children — a 13-year-old boy and two daughters, 11 and 9 — stayed home alone. (Denyer and Kashiwagi, 3/5)
Reuters: ‘Do We Really Want To Close Schools?’ U.S. Authorities Resist Coronavirus Closures
Like many Seattle residents, Andrew Davidoff is demanding schools close to slow the country’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, but as in other U.S. cities school officials are resisting that, saying closures could make things worse. Davidoff, a Microsoft Corp employee, has been told to work from home to slow the spread of the virus. He thinks his daughter, and other children in Lake Washington School District (LWSD) should do the same after 11 people died in the state from COVID-19. (Hay and O’Brien, 3/6)
The Wall Street Journal: Schools Shut In Seattle Area As Coronavirus Spreads
A suburban Seattle school district launched the farthest-reaching school closures in the U.S. Thursday in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, directing more than 23,500 students to stay home for up to two weeks in a last-resort step that districts across the country are considering. (Calfas and Hobbs, 3/5)
The Washington Post: As Coronavirus Spreads, There’s A Big Shortage Of School Nurses
The Sacramento City Unified School District recently sent a newsletter to families about the novel coronavirus that is spreading around the world — it’s already in Sacramento — to explain the measures the school system is taking to protect students, teachers and others. The first point of action was this: “School Nurses are advising and providing classroom lessons on handwashing and proper coughing/sneezing etiquette.” (Strauss, 3/5)
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