GA teachers blare car horns outside district office to protest opening as study shows kids rarely spread Covid-19

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Teachers around the country are continuing to resist efforts by states and individual districts to reopen schools for in-person instruction as new research indicates kids rarely spread COVID-19 to each other or adults.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, teachers and their families staged a “socially distant” protest for the second day on Thursday by lining up their vehicles and blaring their horns at the school district administration office in Suwanee, CNN reported.

The teachers are upset that the district plans to phase in classroom instruction as the school year is set to begin in just a few weeks, though “hundreds” of district employees have tested positive for the virus, the network added.

“There have been 28 confirmed and 67 suspected cases of COVID-19 among employees of Gwinnett County Public Schools as of Wednesday, according to Sloan Roach, the executive director of communication and media relations,” CNN noted further.

The school year begins August 12 with virtual learning. However, Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said that in-person instruction will be phased in beginning August 26.

The district also defended its position.

“In making our plans, we have tried to balance the information about COVID cases in Gwinnett with the concerns of parents who fear for their children’s educational progress, as well as their own employment, and need for us to bring their children back to school,” said Sloan Roach, the district’s executive director of communication and media relations.

Roach noted that while teachers may have concerns, the district is doing what it believes is best overall for kids’ health, safety, and educational well-being.

“Our district is having to make difficult decisions that we know will not be popular with everyone,” she said, comparing teachers to other “essential workers.”

“Just as other essential workers serve the community, our school district staff members serve the children and families of this community,” Roach adds.

CNN noted that while teachers are balking at in-class instruction, many parents are not.

“The virus is not going away, we know it’s not going away. We have to enforce some sort of normal,” parent Joanne Bayouk told the network. “And though our normal is going to change, our kids need to go back.”

CNN added that in Columbia County, Georgia, four students from three high schools have tested positive for the virus.

However, a newly published meta-analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics of several coronavirus studies worldwide found that students rarely spread COVID-19 to teachers or others.

Published in the organization’s August journal “Pediatrics,” the AAP examined school reopening data from Australia to France and concluded that American schools can and should reopen as well.

“Almost 6 months into the pandemic, accumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults,” the AAP noted.

“Therefore, serious consideration should be paid toward strategies that allow schools to remain open, even during periods of COVID-19 spread,” the analysis added.

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, who has been documenting and reporting little-covered information about the progression — and subsequent slow-down — of coronavirus cases and deaths, noted on his Twitter feed this week there are a growing number of teachers and physicians who agree reopening schools is the best plan.

He also noted that Italian government officials ignored their own immunology experts earlier this year, ordering a full lockdown of the entire country two days after the experts said a partial lockdown of the hardest-hit regions was all that was necessary.

Berenson also included data from some regions of the country that experienced sharp increases in coronavirus positive tests but not corresponding spikes in hospitalizations or deaths.

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Jon Dougherty

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