As infections and deaths increase, it is safe to return to school?

Is it safe to go in there? A tough call.
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Infections from the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic continue to rise in Floyd County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the United States and worldwide. Floyd’s number increased by 6 to 57 with three hospitalized and two deaths. Virginia’s infections went up by 1,37 in Saturday’s report from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) with 8,332 hospitalizations and 2.317 deaths.

Friday’s increase of more than 2,000 infections in Virginia was caused, VDH said, by a data catch up and was not a true daily spike but the cases went up. So did Floyd, which saw 8 more cases and the county’s second death.

The ever-increasing numbers have brought several emails from parents who worry about letting their children go back to school, which starts on a staggered schedule Tuesday in Floyd County.

Those concerns should be heard by School Superintendent John Wheeler, not by someone like myself whose youngest child is in her 40s and doesn’t have children, but worries exist among parents who aren’t sure they want their kids exposed to more chances of infection by a pandemic that has killed more than 700,000 people worldwide and 160,000 plus in America.

Writes parent and columnist Theresa Vargas:

Not in a class. Not with a mask.

Not in a house. Not with a mouse.

I do not want a screen to teach my kid. I also do not want to opt for “hybrid.”

I do not like our back-to-school choices for the fall. I do not like them, nope, not at all.

I am lying in the dark, on my younger son’s bottom bunk, when those words come to me. We’ve just finished reading a children’s book and I am listening to him and his older brother, who is on the top bunk, talk about the one-legged toad that jumped into their bug-catching net at a nearby pond that afternoon.

Soon, their voices will grow quiet and their breathing steady, and I will head to work, which means I will walk to another room in the house.

–Therersa Vargas

Ruth Martin, senior vice president ad chief workplace justice officer at MomsRising, says she has read the back to school plan for Maryland, where she and her children live, and walk away from it and calm down.

“I have to confess to you as a working parent, I actually had to read chunks of this plan and put it down and walk away from it because my anxiety flares up so much that I can only process it a little at a time,” she tells CNBC.

Fairfax County, which has the highest number of infections and deaths of any Virginia locality, is offering only online classes when school reopens on Sept. 8.

Most of the emails from parents here in Floyd County say the health of their children is their major concern. I am honoring their request to not use their names or print their emails.

Yet, on trips to Food Lion or CVS or other stores in Floyd, I see parents without masks with school age children, also mask-less. Where, I wonder, is their concern? I know the death rate among children who contract the disease is low, contracting it turns them into carriers who can infect others with a higher chance of serious illness and death.

Floyd’s virus infections have increased by more than 20 in less than three weeks. When the first infection arrived in April, it took more than a month to reach 4 cases.

Eight new infections reported Friday and six on Saturday raised the number by 14. Isn’t time for more to start taking this pandemic seriously?

Floyd borders Carroll County, which has 327 infections and 13 deaths. Montgomery County is also a border neighbor with 301 infections.

Roanoke city hit 1,000 cases Friday and added nine more Saturday. Roanoke County has 493. Salem has 161. Franklin County is at 168.

So, is it safe to send children back to school next week? That’s a question for Dr. Wheeler and Virginia governor Ralph Northam.

As a parent with no school age kids now, it is not my call. I’m glad I don’t have to make one.

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