Coronavirus, Covid-19, Digital Divide, Gymnasium Teachers, Occupational Risk, Online Learning, School Choice, School Closures, School Reform, Sweden, Teachers Unions
A quick follow-up to my recent post “COVID Hysteria and School Reform“: the graphic above is from an occupational risk study recently conducted by Swedish health authorities. The horizontal axis is obscured by the lower banner from Twitter (my fault), but the average risk of infection across all occupations was slightly less than 1%, and the highest-risk occupations were in the 4 – 5% range. Keep in mind, the data was collected while the virus was still raging in Sweden, while schools remained open. The virus hasn’t completely vanished in Sweden since then, but it has largely abated.
The study found that teachers had roughly average or below average risk, especially for pre-school and upper secondary (so-called “gymnasium”) teachers. The results demonstrate the lack of merit to claims by teachers unions that their members are somehow at greater risk of contracting coronavirus than other “essential” workers. We already know that children have extremely low susceptibility to COVID-19 and that they do not readily transmit the virus.
The health benefits of closing schools or taking them on-line do not compensate for the loss of educational effectiveness and detrimental health effects of preventing children from attending schools. The digital divide between children from disadvantaged households and their peers is likely to grow more severe if online learning is their only option. They should have choices, including functioning public schools.
To the last point, however, read this link for the sort of thing one teachers union supports. If the members are okay with that insanity then they shouldn’t be teaching your kids.