Is it safe to send your kids back to school this fall? President Trump thinks so. In fact, he says he’s “comfortable” with sending his 14-year-old son Barron back into the classroom.
Consensus is that the risk to children is small, but that the danger to adults like parents, teachers, administrators, and other personnel, is much higher. School districts like San Diego and Los Angeles have seen enough trouble ahead to defy the federal government and shut down their schools in favor of distance learning.
President Trump, for his part, said he’s perfectly fine sending his son and grandchildren back to school. COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the rise, but the president doesn’t see a big enough hazard on campuses to keep kids and their instructors at home. Trump has been wanting a complete, in-person return to school across the country for some time now.
And, to back it up, he’s brought his son Barron Trump into the mix.
How It Happened
It was at a White House briefing this past Wednesday when the president said he was “comfortable” with his 14-year-old son Barron and his school-age grandchildren returning to school. “And we do have a national strategy,” he said. “But as you know, ultimately it’s up to the governors of the states. I think most governors, many governors want these schools open.”
One of those governors is Ron DeSantis of Florida, who will be opening schools this fall and insists that Floridian teachers are “chomping at the bit” to get back into classrooms. Meanwhile, Florida’s largest teacher’s union has filed a lawsuit against the state over the governor’s reopening order.
“[Children] have very strong immune systems,” Trump said. “They do say that they don’t transmit very easily. And a lot of people are saying they don’t transmit, we’re looking at that. We’re studying hard…that particular subject, that they don’t bring it home with them.”
The statement that children don’t catch or transmit the coronavirus is untrue. A report by the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has clarified that children can catch and spread the coronavirus. “Children almost certainly DO transmit COVID-19,” Alasdair Munro, a researcher who helped author the report, tweeted on April 30. He went on to say that statements in the report suggesting that no children had transmitted the disease came from a flawed study.
German virologist Christian Drosten released a report in May that backed this idea. He examined viral loads in the throats 3,721 people who had tested positive for coronavirus, including children. “The end result is as clear as glass,” Drosten announced on his podcast. “Children do not have significantly different concentrations of the virus in their respiratory passages compared to adults.”
For his part, Trump is sticking to his beliefs over the research. “Now, they don’t catch it easily,” Trump said of children. “They don’t bring it home easily. And if they do catch it, they get better fast. We’re looking at that fact. That is a factor, and we’re looking at that very strongly.”