Stop Stealing Our Children’s Youth In The Name Of Their Grandparents

Stop Stealing Our Children’s Youth In The Name Of Their Grandparents

Every person I know in his 70s says kids should go back to school. Behind ensuring Americans have food, ensuring our children are well educated is a very close second in societal priorities.
Steve Welch
By

For those who don’t get the outrage, let me try to put it in simple terms.

Yes, COVID-19 is dangerous, especially to our elderly population and those who are high-risk. Yes, there will be some young, healthy people who die from COVID, as is true with the 38,000 people who die from car accidents each year, or the 2,000 children who died last year from cancer.

As of June 17, 26 American children under the age of 15 have died from COVID. That is not a misprint: 26 children under the age of 15. By comparison, in the first six months of this year, an estimated 122 children under the age of 15 died from the flu, 536 children died in car accidents, and another 349 died in pool drownings. I don’t hear anyone saying we should stop putting kids in cars or letting them swim in pools.

We are stealing our children’s youth and ultimately will be stealing their adulthood, because they will lack the education and social skills to succeed, and we are saddling them with a greater and greater amount of debt as we destroy our economy. Disrupting schooling also forces parents to try to homeschool their children and work their job at the same time.

The effects will be more pronounced in poor communities that lack the technical infrastructure to allow children to access and be successful in distance learning. For the social justice warriors who have understandably been working for equal opportunity in society, this is the sword to die on.

Every person I know in his 70s—every single one—says kids should go back to school. I cannot imagine a single grandparent in this country who would not sacrifice isolating himself for the next six months so his grandchildren can have the joy of playing tag with their friends on the playground or dissecting a frog with their lab partners.

Yes, teachers are at greater risk than students. Doctors and nurses, many of whom are also high risk, continue to go to work every day treating actual COVID patients because that is their job. Individuals working in meat plants are keeping America fed, often under dangerous working circumstances.

Workers put themselves at risk by stocking the shelves at the supermarkets to ensure Americans survive. I cannot imagine teachers not willing to make the same sacrifices. Behind ensuring Americans have food, ensuring our children are well educated is a very close second in top priorities as a society.

You are an American, and you have the following choice every single day: if you are not comfortable with the progression of COVID, you should isolate yourself. Everyone else, put on your mask and practice good social distancing, but it is time to get back to work and life.

Teachers who are high risk can use Zoom to connect with students who will be in the school, and where possible with a young teaching assistant. Students who are high risk should attend schools that have been doing distance learning for a decade. I assure you, they are better at it than what I saw in public schools in the spring.

States should add resources to these online schools or potentially create a state-run online school. But it is time to stop stealing our children’s youth in the name of their grandparents.

Often in life, we need to choose the least bad choice. The absolute worst choice we can make as a society is to cheat our children of their youth and not properly educate them. This is not only selfish, but will damage our country for decades to come. Taiwan, Norway, and Sweden recognized this early and kept their schools open in the spring, and countries like Germany and Japan have already reopened their schools.

We are cheating our children of life by not allowing them to be kids. Besides school, we are cancelling their sports and clubs and theater classes. I am confident America’s senior and at-risk population—who should be isolated anyway!—are willing to stay isolated a little longer to ensure our kids have a childhood and are prepared for the future.

Steve co-founded DreamIt Ventures, a new business accelerator model. He ives in Austin, Texas with his wife Nicole and their four children. He's on Twitter @welchsteven.

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