By Faye Gaston

The Bullock County school systems face big decisions about bringing children to school. Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a biocontainment unit medical doctor at John Hopkins University in Maryland, addressed the question, "Is it safe to bring children back to school?"

He said schools should be considering alternative learning options such as outdoor classes or telecommuting for some students, and then rotate who is on campus. He said this is a "global phenomenon" and that it keeps our eyes open on what is happening in other countries.

Israel had fewer than 300 deaths from COVID-19. Then schools reopened in May. Within two weeks, the COVID-19 swept through classrooms with over 200 cases. One school had at least 130 cases. As a result, more than 6,800 students and teachers were placed under quarantine.

South Korea experienced a similar problem and forced to close schools as well. Over 100 children in New York City have been diagnosed with "multi-system inflammatory syndrome" (MIS-C), a severe illness linked to COVID-19. Cases have also appeared in children in France, the UK, and Italy.

If this virus follows other respiratory virus patterns, children can certainly pass COVID-19 on to others. Opening schools put children, teachers, and family members at home at risk. The outbreak of COVID-19 that began in China has infected more than 7.5 million worldwide, and over 420,000 have died.

More than 200 countries have reported cases. According to John Hopkins University, the United States has recorded more than 2 million cases and nearly 115,000 deaths from the virus.

The numbers are increasing. It is the greatest infectious disease in "living memory." In the past week, nineteen states (including Alabama) have reported seven-day average highs for new cases. Alabama reopened its economy much sooner than other states and has seen a spike in new cases over the past week.

Alabama has 22,000 cases, with 755 deaths. The "first wave" is still going on. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US public health expert and White House coronavirus task force member, said, "The United States may see a second wave." The flu season begins in the fall.

The states are reopening, and there have been mass violent protests/riots. This includes shouting, getting worked up, sweating, and jostling with a high probability of droplets with the virus transmitted through the air. With passions flying droplets from the mouth and nose are flying.

Eight states attribute many of their increase in new cases to the riots. June 10, 2020, Herald reported 29 new cases with a total of 238 confirmed cases in Bullock County during the previous week.

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