Schools are at the center of scandalous disinformation
Friday, October 29, 2021 | 2 a.m
What make you want to bang your head against the wall.
A private Florida school has ordered vaccinated students to be quarantined at home for 30 days after each dose. School officials falsely claimed that vaccinations put these students, rather than unvaccinated ones, at risk of spreading the coronavirus.
A relatively small number of parents in San Diego County have held their children out of school for a day to protest against vaccination warrants, despite statistics showing that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in protecting people against COVID-19.
An immunocompromised teenager advocated vaccinations and masks at a recent school board meeting in Clovis, Calif. The student was booed and taunted by adults attending the meeting.
All of this has happened as more and more information has surfaced about how vaccines are essential to protect the public. The risk of dying from COVID-19 was 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for fully vaccinated adults in August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 750,000 people in the United States and nearly 5 million worldwide have died from COVID-19.
The former is roughly equal to the population of Seattle, the latter to all residents of Ireland.
Yet it seems like not a day goes by without at least one action, position or statement at odds with facts, logic or common sense about the coronavirus.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was fully vaccinated, has died of complications from COVID-19. His death has been used in some quarters to raise doubts about vaccines. Not mentioned – or downplayed – was the fact that Powell’s cancer and the treatment he received for it left him severely immunosuppressed, and therefore more susceptible to the effects of the coronavirus.
These cases of rupture are rare, but they do happen. People with such conditions are at greater risk of illness and death from COVID-19, although vaccines still offer them more protection than they otherwise would have. It’s no secret that Fox News hosts and others are spreading disinformation.
The preventive measures to anticipate the pandemic – mainly vaccinations and masks – are well known. Most people take it, but too many of them don’t.
This has been the case since the start of 2020, so it’s reasonable to ask: why keep repeating it? Yes, there will probably always be a core that doesn’t budge, and as they do, they are increasingly socially isolated for everyone’s protection. Here’s the important thing to remember when they complain about being denied certain things: it’s their choice.
But it is clear that some less categorical skeptics may be persuaded to accept reality, as suggested by rising vaccination rates and acceptance of mandates. So slamming the truth – repeating grim statistics and information on how to avoid becoming it – should never get old.
What never seems to get old are movements that are difficult to understand. The most recent poster child for this is Miami’s Centner Academy, which has exhibited dangerous idiocy, meanness, or both.
The school sent parents a letter saying that students who get vaccinated should quarantine themselves at home for 30 days after each injection. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, which means a fully immunized student would miss 60 days of school.
The school said that because children are vaccinated, they could infect other students – a claim that has been completely refuted. How? ‘Or’ What? Vaccines do not contain the virus.
It’s the Flat Earth Society kind of stuff.
While not as harsh, there is questionable judgment closer to home. On October 18, some children in San Diego and the state were kept out of class by their parents to protest against school vaccination warrants. There were hundreds of them in San Diego County, thousands across the state. As a perspective, more than 500,000 children in San Diego County and nearly 7 million in California are enrolled in K-12 schools.
Parents protesting said they were opposed to not being allowed to make an important healthcare decision for their children, who it was repeatedly pointed out must already be vaccinated to attend public school.
But when they say they are denied the right to choose, that is wrong. Some parents said they could home school their children rather than having them immunized. Again, the choice is there.
All staff and students in the San Diego Unified School District aged 16 and over will need to be immunized by December 20. About 69% of San Diego County youth aged 12 and older have already been vaccinated against COVID. Data suggests that county schools are more successful at minimizing cases of COVID than the general population.
During the Clovis school council meeting, a dozen adults took turns calling the council “ridiculous” and asking the commissioners to “take control” and offer parents the choice to vaccinate or not. their child.
Between them, high school student Rami Zwebti took the podium to advocate for the wearing of masks and vaccinations, while making pointed comments to people in the public. He noted that the protests against the masks and vaccines in other places had turned violent and added, “I hope the people in this room are mature enough not to behave in this way.”
Rami received ears from parents and community members and, after speaking, left the room.
Clovis Unified School District Superintendent Eimear O’Brien said members of the school administration and police “immediately intervened … to make sure our student knew our team was there to protect and support (Rami) ”.
Just another day in American education.
Michael Smolens is a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune.