By: James Freeman featuring IWF Staff member Charlotte Hays

Just how small is the risk for teachers returning to school classrooms this fall? The Times of London reports:

There has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world, according to one of the government’s leading scientific advisers.

Mark Woolhouse, a leading epidemiologist and member of the government’s Sage committee, told The Times that it may have been a mistake to close schools in March given the limited role children play in spreading the virus.

Around the world, citizens have perhaps become more wary lately of the claims of epidemiologists. But at a minimum this report puts new pressure on lockdown advocates to produce evidence of alleged harms to justify school closures. This also creates a rather awkward moment for U.S. teachers unions and their media friends. Recently in the New York newspaper called the Times (no relation), a teacher named Rebecca Martinson opined:

Every day when I walk into work as a public-school teacher, I am prepared to take a bullet to save a child. In the age of school shootings, that’s what the job requires. But asking me to return to the classroom amid a pandemic and expose myself and my family to Covid-19 is like asking me to take that bullet home to my own family.

Perhaps a bit overstated? Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women’s Forum calls Ms. Martinson’s op-ed “An Emotional Plea To Play Hooky” and observes:

Nobody can or should be forced to continue in a job that she deems too dangerous.

But what struck me about Ms. Martinson’s piece is that she never lets on about her risk. She doesn’t tell us if she lives with elderly, vulnerable family members. She doesn’t tell us whether she has underlying conditions that would make her susceptible to COVID-19.

The most prominent fact cited is that 75 “school-based” employees of the New York City Department of Education lost their lives to COVID-19 between March 16, 2020 and June 22. While each of these losses is undeniably tragic, to make these numbers meaningful, we need to know which ones contracted the infection because of their jobs. New York City’s public schools began shutting down in mid-March.

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