Comparison of the Polio and COVID-19 Return to School Dilemma

With the summer quickly moving towards fall, it would normally be the time of year that kids would be getting excited about seeing their friends again, getting school supplies, and maybe purchasing a new outfit to wear the first day back. Along with the anticipation and excitement, it is normal for children to have some apprehension, too. Who will be their new teacher, will they get to be in the same class as their friends, will they be able to do well.

This year, COVID-19 has added new and more worrisome stress for both parents and children, not to mention school staff. Parents wonder if it is safe to send their children back to school, yet know their children have already missed so much already, they need and want to get back. The decision is a tough one and one that parents have to make very soon.

Ironically, this is not the first time parents have had this important decision to make. See Coronavirus lessons from when the 1937 polio epidemic delayed school reopenings | The Conversation for the challenges of that previous epidemic.

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