Analysis of 130 COVID studies prompts push to reopen schools

Debates have raged throughout the pandemic about if and how students should return to campuses.

Now a new national report shows the findings of more than 130 studies on the safe reopening of schools.

Several Valley school districts have brought back groups of students for on-campus learning.

The author of a national study says CDC mitigation strategies have helped reduce the COVID risk for students and staff.

"There is power in wearing masks and physically distancing students and increasing hygiene regiments and improving ventilation," says John Bailey.

Cheri Perry, a Fresno Unified parent, says, "I'm not concerned sending my kids back. I'm looking forward to sending my kids back and giving them some sense of ability actually to learn with a quality of education."

One finding won't surprise parents who have tried to help kids with their homework - researchers found students learned mathematics more slowly than English Language Arts.

Researchers worry about the long-term effects of remote learning because many students have struggled with their online classes, and some face more challenges than others.

They found that the opportunity gap increased during the pandemic between high-income and low-income kids.

But educators also worry about the mental health of kids.

The superintendent of Clark County School District in Nevada noticed a rising suicide rate in his district.

"We lost 23 kids to date. I'm not saying it's the pandemic, but I believe there's a factor. There's the isolation. There's the home. There's nothing to look forward to," says Clark County School Superintendent Jesus Jara.

Resources are available, including school counselors or the 24x7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Doctors say people are also now more accepting of some preventative measures that allow kids to be among their friends.

"When we first started talking about this in February and March, saying the word mask was like anathema. Now a year later, most parents are like, 'I will wear the mask, just please get my kid back in school'," says Dr. Mario Ramirez.

Fresno Unified plans to return more students back to campus April 6th, with all grades able to return by April 13th.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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