Fully open schools because closing them negatively impacted kids in many ways

Posted 6 August 2020 at 8:01 pm


When I learned that the Medina School District is opening 7-12 grades “Every other day and alternating Fridays” unless I petition the district for 5 day a week in-person classes and that all students had to wear masks, I was reminded of the term, “Follow the Science!” Because at least in most school districts in our county, it appears that few actually are.

To start out on my experience living under Covid-19 with my 12-year-old son, I have learned a lot about what my son goes through when his schedule is inconsistent and he has to wear a mask to go shopping.  First, he has autism and needs a concrete schedule, or he gets anxious.  And taking him shopping or to any public place is literally taking his breath away: my son cannot breathe when he wears a mask.

When we shop for even a half hour, after we get outside, he takes off his mask and says, “I can’t breathe!” as he huffs to catch his breath. I experience the same thing, no matter what the mask is made of (we have tried every kind). I just got my suspicion confirmed when I listened to a doctor who was being interviewed last week, when he asserted that wearing masks decreases oxygen flow and can increase one’s blood pressure by an alarming amount.

He had a patient, who has hypertension, come into his office with a mask on and took the patient’s blood pressure: it was 200/150! He had the patient take off their mask and 15 minutes later, his patient’s blood pressure was down to normal for his condition. “So, it is not just me,” I thought… I have shortness of breath for several minutes after taking off the mask, and I have high blood pressure to boot!

So hearing that my son would need to have a mask on for over 6 hours a day, I was deeply concerned about him attending school at all under this mandate of mask wearing, for everyone who wanted to go back to school. I am not a rigid thinker when it comes to wearing a mask, as I have elderly and disabled parents at home, one of whom is suffering with a terminal illness and I am very careful when I am around them, so I suffer the mask when I can’t social distance in stores when they need me to pick up a few things for them.

The thought of children (and teachers) in school all day wearing masks is not following the science at all. The research I have done tells a different story: Wearing a mask may help the wearer stay safer, but not the health of the people around them, no matter what type of mask their wear (even the coveted N95 type).

During respiration, the wearer still emits droplets when exhaling. I learned a lot of other science over the past week as well, and it paints an alarming overreaction on our part regarding the virus, which has harmed our children more that the virus itself.

JAMA reports that 46% of pediatric hospitals have experienced less Covid-19 cases than the seasonal flu.  Also, interestingly, our kids are 99% less likely to die from it, let alone get it at all. In Western Europe, children went back to school in late spring: Neither Denmark, Finland, nor Sweden experienced an increase in Covid-19 cases at all. In the UK, there was not one confirmed case of a child infecting a teacher with the virus.

In the US, it appears that closing the schools did more damage to our children than anyone could ever expect:

  • There was a 27% decrease in the reported cases of child abuse.
  • Children’s screen time went up by 5 hours on average
  • Children experienced 50% less physical activity leading to worsening obesity, which was already a growing problem in this country.
  • Children experienced depression and anxiety because 13% of them used to get psychiatric help in school. Over 7.1 million kids went without psychiatric care. There was an increase of 34% for children needing psychotropic medicine.
  • The American Psychiatric Association reported a 46% increase in adult stress, impacting home care for children.
  • In lower income groups, 76% of children fell behind in schoolwork (thank you “remote learning”!).The summer learning loss, according to the NWEA is 2-3 months. Today, it is twice that, especially in math and reading.
  • “Frontline Workers”, i.e.: Doctors, nurses, other health aides’ had put their own children in the WMCA facilities because they had to work through the pandemic.We are talking about tens of thousands of frontline workers sending tens of thousands of kids to the WMCA (over 1,000 locations) and there was no Covid spread among these children.

But don’t take my word for it, this is what the CDC director, Robert Redfield, said just last week: “I don’t think I can emphasize it enough, as the director for the Centers of Disease Control, the leading public health agency in the world: It is in the public health interest that these K-12 students get the schools back open for face-to-face learning.”

In short, closing the schools has resulted in an increase of child abuse and neglect, an increase of kids falling behind in school, an increase of depression and an alarming increase of child suicide for those 18 and younger, and drug abuse and overdoses.

Let’s face it folks, every day when we get out of bed in the morning and back in bed at night, life is a risk…  weigh that against everything I just mentioned above and ask yourself, was closing schools in the first place a good idea or an overreaction?

And keeping them closed for so long in America has not only damaged our kids, it collapsed the economy. Now, I have to figure out how I, as a single parent, can work “every other day with alternating Fridays” so my son can return to school, or maybe worse, request that he go back full time in a mask 6 plus hours a day 5 days a week subjecting him to decreasing oxygen flow/CO2 retention and the risk of high blood pressure.

I’m afraid that by mandatory mask wearing, especially the anxiety over catching Covid-19, will turn our children into neurotic hypochondriacs as well. They’ve had the summer from hell, when everything was closed (splash pads, no fireworks, no summer sports, no indoor children play parks, etc.) and now they are going to have nothing to look forward to (and no summer activity to talk about) going back to school with a stupid mask on.

My feeling is that if teachers and administrators are afraid of catching the virus, they should be the one to put on a mask for 6-8 hours a day.

I get it about the fear of liability the schools are facing, which is why I am suggesting that parents sign paperwork absolving the schools of any infections, should they occur in school. But demanding everyone to wear a mask and the chaos of “every other day and alternating Fridays” is not going to work, and that should be obvious.

Our kids need “normal” back. Full school days, breathing freely without anxiety. And the adults in this county should put their kids’ wellbeing first! I shouldn’t have to point that out, but unfortunately, someone needs to!

Kimberly Kennedy