Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial, September 2, 2022
Washington, D.C.’s public schools are among the worst-performing in the nation. Yet in a fit of COVID hysteria, the district now threatens to keep thousands of students — many African American — from attending class. And it’s about everything but “the science.”
The coronavirus still exists, for sure. But the virus currently circulating takes a far less deadly toll. Hospitalizations are down, and deaths are dropping rapidly throughout the country. Nevada is averaging one new death daily. Vaccines, natural immunity and milder variants have taken much of the punch from COVID. For many Americans, the virus has become background noise.
These realities led to policy changes at the Clark County School District. Students and staff exposed to COVID-19 no longer need to quarantine. Perhaps this will help lower the shockingly high number of students who were chronically absent last year.
Yet in certain progressive jurisdictions, officials refuse to let go of the emergency power the pandemic provided them. Los Angeles County, for example, recently almost imposed another mask mandate on schoolchildren. And in Washington, D.C., the City Council passed a bill requiring students to have the coronavirus vaccine at the start of this school year.
The directive threatens to keep thousands of children from attending the public schools. D.C.’s vaccination data shows 73 percent of residents 12 to 15 have received COVID shots. Among 16- and 17-year-olds, it’s 76 percent. The Daily Signal reported that more than 40 percent of Black children age 12 to 17 aren’t vaccinated.
To make matters worse, Mayor Muriel Bowser isn’t even providing an alternative way for these students to attend class. “We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school,” she said.
Faced with this looming problem, D.C. officials issued a temporary reprieve. Now they will send a notice of noncompliance to students in late November. On Jan. 3, students will be excluded from school if they haven’t received their coronavirus vaccines.
This is indefensible. Students suffered greatly from school closures throughout the pandemic. Their learning and mental health declined markedly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teenage suicide attempts surged during the lockdowns. There is no reason to impose unnecessary mandates on children as the virus’s threat wanes, particularly given that the virus poses very little threat to kids.
The pandemic caused enough problems, especially for children who were locked out of school and otherwise isolated. It’s borderline criminal that some progressives want to prolong the pain and exacerbate the damage by clinging to unnecessary restrictions.