I despaired reading the letter to the editor about school closures mandated by Gov. Jay Inslee (“School closures necessary?” March 18, 2020). Mr. Brown writes that “it is not the young who are getting the virus” which is perhaps true although new studies suggest that children are more vulnerable than previously thought. What is certain, however, is that young people can be carriers. Some studies suggest that children were perhaps the age group most responsible for the fast spread of the virus in Wuhan.
Anyone who has worked with young people know that they share everything: electronic devices, pens, books, apparel, water bottles, lunches and snacks. The school structure itself means they share desks, educational materials, computers, gym and playground equipment. In that petri dish of the school environment, it’s easy to see how any number of children could bring home the potential for infection while being asymptomatic themselves. Their parents, however, are certainly vulnerable to infection as well as others whom parents might come in contact with: grandparents, friends, colleagues, or anyone who is immuno-deficient. Equally, our teachers and administrators, overseeing that school petri dish, are on the front line and extremely vulnerable.
Gov. Inslee is following historical models and current models of communities (South Korea, Japan) who have had some success battling an epidemic. School closures are not a
Democrat agenda to “destroy our system of government” as Brown seems to imply. Rather they are meant to enhance community-wide social distancing and to safeguard our most vulnerable citizens.