DURHAM – The progression of cancellations due to the spread of the Wuhan Flu — from the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, to the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, and in-person classes at major universities — has now made the inevitable turn into K-12 schools. Orange County, Durham and Chapel Hill public schools have closed to students until the end of the month at the earliest.
- Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools have made March 16-18 optional teacher workdays with spring now beginning on March 19 and lasting through March 27.
- Durham Public Schools will close to students on March 16 and will provide more information about distance learning, meals for children, and other concerns on March 13
- Orange County Schools will close March 16 through April 3 with plans to reopen April 6.
While the petri dishes that are schools would seem to be a good thing to close in order to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus, it does not come without unintended consequences. For instance, the child care demands explode when schools close, leaving parents scrambling. Many of those parents are healthcare professionals, like nurses, who are desperately needed as the corona virus stands to test the capacity of our health systems.
So who watches the kids? Grandparents? Those over 65 are most at risk when it comes to the corona virus. The knock on effects go from there.
When cruise ship passengers contract the virus, the end up sending everyone to their rooms to ‘isolate’ themselves. Makes sense until you realize that such close quarters and contact in tiny rooms with shared ventilation systems virtually assures the spread of the germ to everyone on the ship.
There will be plenty of unintended consequences from actions taken out of an abundance of concern over the spread of corona virus. Hopefully, if we want to avoid putting maximum strain on communities and health systems, the closure of public schools for weeks at a time is not added to an already challenging situation.