Posted: Jan 4, 2022

Debate: Be it resolved that school closures should never be used to stop the spread of COVID-19

In June 2021, Ari Bitnun, Andrew Morris, Jennifer Grant, Colin Furness, and Martha Fulford debated a notion that has once again become the subject of intense dispute as Canada sees a huge spike in COVID-19 cases: whether schools should never be closed as a means of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

by Ari Bitnun

We should never have closed schools because there is no compelling reason to do so. Not only are children at very low risk of developing severe COVID-19, but schools are also not significant sites of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

by Andrew Morris

We should not rule out school closures, since even though the short-term consequences of COVID-19 on children generally appear to be mild, they are not always benign – and no-one even knows what the long-term effects are. Furthermore, transmission does occur within schools, which can endanger not only schoolchildren but the broader community.

by Martha Fulford

Schools should not be closed due to COVID-19 because children are at low risk of serious harm from the disease and do not spread it to others to a significant degree. In fact, closing schools causes far more harm to children than it prevents.

by Jennifer Grant

Closing schools violates two rights safeguarded in the Convention on the International Rights of the Child. By infringing these rights, we have caused serious harm to our kids, despite the fact that schools never posed a serious danger to kids or the community at large.

by Colin Furness

We may need to close schools for short periods of time when the spread of COVID-19 gets out of control, since doing so decreases community mobility and, by extension, transmission. We should also be wary of the narrative that schools are not significant sites of transmission, which might be more politically advantageous than scientifically accurate.

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  • T. Paterson says:

    If I could, I would invite these people to come and spend a day in secondary school. Teens refusing to wear masks, or to wear them properly. Huge numbers of students in some classes. Students intentionally coughing on people, as a joke. No social distancing. Some education staff have health issues and many are over 60 yrs old. Students survive having schools closed every summer. They will survive these short term shutdowns, as well.

  • Mike Holt says:

    They should be closed! While youngsters may not be as susceptible as adults to infection, they can still be carriers so potentially spreaders of COVID through interactions with each other then at home! One of the biggest sources of flu every year is the spread from schools to the community.

  • Marg Wood says:

    I believe they should be closed for short periods when the infection rate is high. Children with compromised immunity could die and if children are infected they can spread it to other people. We still do not know the long-term effects.

  • Mary Crome says:

    School closures haven’t been about protecting the kids, or the teachers. If they were the lockdowns would have been used to vaccinate and create ventalation and smaller class sizes. School closures have been about protecting the decrepit health care system.
    The best solution is to fix the healthcare system instead of making children sacrifice their learning and development.

    School cannot be safe. That is not possible. Participating in society comes with risk. It is not our job to protect out kids from life it is our job give our kids the best we can offer so they can build a life worth living. We have no right to steal this from them in order to protect the healthcare system we failed to fund appropriately