November 2nd, 2020
The preponderance of the current data after 8 months of COVID research points squarely to the reality that schools are not the source transmission problem, especially the less than 12 year old age range. There is now evidence that teachers may be at less risk because of potential prior cross reactive immunity. This can be gained from frequent exposure to young children who carry or are sick with other coronaviruses. They are also at less risk when wearing a mask and remaining 6 feet from children. There is good evidence for safely returning to full time school at this time after reviewing the Brown University school data.
There are two caveats to this reality. First, if a teacher has a genetic weakness (for example, a single nucleotide polymorphism in toll like receptor function) or other innate immune viral surveillance defect, they could have a negative outcome despite the low risk. These are lightning strikes in their rare probability, however, they can happen. Second, those individuals who have consciously neglected to care for themselves for years through poor lifestyle choices driving diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and obesity morbidity will be at greater risk for a negative outcome regardless of the aforementioned risk reduction of children exposure.
Thus, on balance at this time we should be pushing for schools to get back to full activity in person learning. Our children are suffering from mental and physical stagnation that may last for a generation. This is especially egregious for the most impoverished children in the country. Those individuals in the teaching profession at higher risk as stated above will need to make a choice. This is frankly a class effect for all workers in every field.