Letter: Safest Place for Children Is in School

Dear Editor,

Despite multiple attempts to discuss the accurate evaluation of the risks the pandemic and our response to it present to our children and community with our Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi, I have received no response to my emails or phone calls.  So, with a heavy heart, I feel compelled to share the facts with our community through your publication. In “Charting Our Course” Dr. Luizzi begins by stating ”In all that we do and every decision we make, the health and wellness of our school community will always be our true north and unwavering guide.” (page 1). I couldn’t agree more, so let’s identify the real risks the pandemic presents to our school community’s health and wellness. The risks of catching COVID-19 in a school following the CDC and WHO guidelines regarding ventilation and sanitary practices like mask wearing is exceptionally low. This was highlighted in an excellent article recently published by El Pais. As a former HVAC engineer and a PhD physicist who has modeled the spread of COVID I have calculated the risk to our students using the research by Professor José Luis Jiménez that underlies this article. Assuming the worst case, a teacher has COVID and does not know it, there is only a 0.8% chance that they infect a student in a given day. If we assume that the community spread is 100 per 100,000 (four times our current level) there is about a 0.05% chance that anyone catches COVID at school in a day. Using the current fatality rate this means that the chance of dying from COVID caught at school is about the same as dying from a car accident.