COVID-19, EDITORIAL — March 12, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Opinion: Broward County schools should close due to COVID-19 breakout

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Disclaimer: These are not the opinions of The Eagle Eye editorial board but the opinions of the individual reporters.

Germs spread quickly in heavily populated areas such as schools. Graphic by Darian Williams.

While the school year technically doesn’t end until the first week of June, the global coronavirus has prompted discussion about a potential cessation of classes in order to protect the health of students.

It’s important to contemplate the idea that it may not be healthy for students to be going to school and there is strong evidence to indicate closing schools being the right choice.

Just on the surface, the amount of germs that are spread within a school is overwhelming. As a result of sharing pens, books, laptops and seats, students are extremely at risk to contract and distribute the coronavirus, just like any other strain of common virus.

The biggest way that this epidemic is catalyzed is in places with a large amount of people in close quarters. Closing schools would be a really good way of limiting avenues of distribution of this virus.

Some people may argue that if the overwhelming majority of corona fatalities are in a much older demographic, but it is important to remember that there are plenty of teachers, staff and security who could be susceptible.

To protect the employees at schools like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, it would definitely be beneficial to close schools.

Beyond the adults in school, parents and other family members of students could be at risk if their children were to contract the disease. If a son or daughter were to come home from school with the virus, the child may not exhibit any symptoms but could bring the disease into the house and affect their parents.

The moral and legal implications of parent illness due to contraction from their child’s classmates would be immense. Sending kids home to get their parents sick would likely attract lawsuits against the school system. There is no better way to avoid this then by closing schools.

However, the grandparents factor is even worse. To this date, the average age of coronavirus conception is approximately 70 years old. With spring break just around the corner, grandchildren now have to be extra careful because the elderly are particularly at risk for the effects of the virus. The guilt that a student would have if they knew they put their grandparent’s life in danger unbeknownst to them would be disastrous, and this reality is more and more likely with the longer school is open as a potential breeding ground for coronavirus.

Another factor to consider is the mental wellness of students during the exposure of such an overwhelmingly large-scale pandemic.

News stations, peers reaching for hand sanitizer every five minutes and discussions in class serve as a constant reminder of a worldwide deadly disease that currently has no cure.

Going often unnoticed is the plight of student mental wellness, but this must be different. We can’t be sending students off to do homework with a death toll on the TV that looks like the stock index and having them pretend all is normal in school when the disease might be spreading as they go about their day.

It’s abnormal to sit in class and discuss the chaos of the world and then reflect to American poetry. It’s unfair to have children thinking about the demise of thousands of humans and then force them to forget and do some calculus.

Classwork is not what’s important right now.

Without even asking for a permanent cancellation, students deserve to have school off until some sort of signal of the end of this epidemic is presented.

How can students be asked to do classwork when they don’t even know if thousands and maybe even millions of humans will be wiped out? Such a drastic catastrophe would certainly change all aspects of life, including school; so, how can students pretend that that all is normal?

So many other nations and even locations within the United States have started taking action to close down and now, with cases of corona reported here, it’s time for Broward County to come to the sensible conclusion and do the same.

Closing schools until some sort of plan to combat this virus is reached is the most mindful and intelligent course of action that the school system can take at the moment.

Charlie Goodman

Charlie Goodman is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He is a staff writer for the Eagle Eye and is currently covering sports, and more specifically, Varsity Football. Charlie also participates in DECA, is a Key Club Officer, and serves on the Gold Coast Regional Board for BBYO. He wants to pursue Psychology or Humanities in the future.

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