What risk level should we accept?

President Trump, interestingly, decided it’s too dangerous to have a Republican National Convention but it should be mandatory that all schools — except his son’s — reopen under the threat of losing federal funds. In justifying his position, he said, “Children are almost immune,” while Betsy DeVos said, “Children are stoppers of the disease.”

Senator Ernst added further misinformation by saying, “We actually see more deaths in the U.S. from the flu.”

We know that’s not true as schools in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee have reopened and within days had to quarantine students and staff due to outbreaks. In fact, Indianola recently reopened and days later had an outbreak in a first-grade class.

CDC guidelines for reopening schools suggest that masks significantly reduce the transmission of COVID and that any area of the country where the percent positivity rate within a community is greater than 5 percent should exercise extreme caution before reopening.

Iowa’s positivity rate hovers around 9 percent and currently there are 64 Iowa counties with positivity rates over 5 percent. Yet, Governor Reynolds, like Trump, would have all schools open with recommended masks, on-site learning and hybrid learning if a parent chooses, until there is a positivity rate of 15 percent and 10 percent absenteeism over the last 14 days. Yes, the governor wants children in school even if the positivity rate is 15 percent and would allow remote learning only if the positivity rate reaches 20 percent. Even Florida and Arizona aren’t hitting a 20 percent positivity rate and you know how that’s going for them.

I get that Trump and Reynolds want children in schools and the economy to improve but at what cost? What level of risk are they willing to accept? What level of risk are students/teachers/staff/parents/grandparents willing to accept? Wear a mask and vote.


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