Here’s a note from TPM Reader GH. It echoes DB’s points about the social effects of school closures. I print this not as something in favor of school closures (I can see the opposite argument) as simply a description of their impact …
I’m a parent of 3 children in Seattle Public Schools and am an employee of Amazon and have been working from home for close to two weeks now. I think there were two things that brought on the decision to close the schools. First, I think teacher absenteeism was approaching a breaking point and they could see the writing on the wall. But secondly, the equity lens. Many of our lower-income students live in multi-generational households. They were, correctly in my opinion, starting to stay home.
However, regardless of the reasons, and leaving the point regarding children as transmission vectors aside, closing the schools changed everyone’s behavior. Prior to that decision, my friends and I were still going out to lunch occasionally, having dinner parties, etc. Nothing more than 4-6 people, but we were trying to put on a brave face, and quite frankly, we’re not a high-risk group. Grocery stores were stocked, with the occasional story of an empty shelf somewhere in the city, but nothing I could see.
Since Wednesday’s decision, my friend circle is in lockdown. The two or three grocery stores nearby are noticeably drained.
Anyway, the point is that even if kids aren’t a vector, the decision to close the schools sends a strong message to everyone to take this seriously, and in that regard, must have a positive impact on limiting transmission rates.
Just one data point in a sea of craziness, but thought I’d share.