Wake Forest Baptist Infectious Disease Expert Says Closing Schools Is Ignoring Science, ‘Shame on us as a society’

WINSTON-SALEM – As the wave of panic spreads across the country, perhaps cresting again in North Carolina too, an infections disease expert at Wake Forest Baptist Medical is slamming those closing area schools as ‘ignoring science.’

Schools in the Triad have recently announced ‘pauses’ in which they’re going back to full remote learning to ‘slow spread of the virus’ after the holidays, but Dr. Christopher Ohl thinks it’s not only ineffective, but detrimental.

From WFMY2:

“[…] Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert with Wake Forest Baptist Health, said schools are much safer than other businesses that are already open. 

During his Thursday COVID-19 update for the Triad, Ohl expressed frustration that schools could be closed for much longer if school boards listen to misinformation about coronavirus.

We need to look at real science and the schools are safer than the Halloween party, safer than going to a brewpub and getting pizza, or having people at your house. The schools are safer than most anywhere else,” Ohl said. “The bars are open, the fitness centers are open. Shame on us as a society. What’s important?” 

Dr. Ohl said if you’re opposed to safely reopening, you’re ignoring science.

There’s a group of people that have been extremely vocal and they’ve developed a life of their own and a crusade against opening schools and there’s a lot of misinformation.”

“Schools are pretty much safer than anywhere else around, transmissions of the virus in the schools are basically nonexistent,” he continued. “When it does happen between teachers, it happens at lunch or in the breakroom or at a social activity outside of school.”

 Ohl worries that misinformation could block reentry for a long time. 

I don’t see Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools opening at all, maybe into 2022 as long as this is going on.” […]”

So, after this strong of a rebuke of even continued entertaining of closing schools as a worthwhile option to mitigate the coronavirus, what does the district say?

Well, WFMY reached out to them regarding the comments from Dr. Ohl, who has advised the different county boards on such matters. This is how the response from a spokesperson begins:

“I certainly can’t say what would happen in or until 2022. I think there are far too many uncertainties for that and would never want to make predictions. […]”

They’re so tied to closing schools as an appropriate response to COVID spikes that they’ll hold on to it until 2022 and beyond. In full, utter disagreement with all of the science and correlated interests in the education of children.

Pandemic Panic, far from science, is becoming more a matter of misguided faith.

Read more comments from Dr. Ohl and Forsyth County leaders on the subject here.

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