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  • Joanne Jacobs

Quarantines were a disastrous disruption for students


Photo: Nandhu Kumar/Pexels

"Remote learning was terrible for many students," writes John Bailey, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, on The 74. Strict quarantine rules were "far worse."


"Quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required an entire class of students to be sent home for as long as two weeks if they had close contact with a child who tested positive," he writes. "The result was massive learning disruptions that occurred throughout the school year, even in states where schools were officially reopened."

When schools closed, students were offered some sort of remote learning. That didn't always happen for quarantined students, Bailey writes.

Only four of the largest 100 districts promised live instruction for quarantined students, and just 36% of quarantined students reported having live classes with teachers. In Los Angeles, parents reported their quarantined children were sent home with just paper work packets or no assignments at all — an experience that was all too common in other regions.

The federal government was slow to collect data, and the CDC was slow to update its quarantine guidance, he writes. Most local education leaders didn't have a plan to deal with disruptions.

"Flush with billions of federal COVID-19 relief funding, schools could simply have engaged outside partners to provide quarantine support for their students on short notice," Bailey concludes. "ASU Prep Digital and Varsity Tutors, for example, offered programs that could, in as little as 24 hours, provide 1-on-1 instruction with a live teacher and small-group learning."

We're facing "a tripledemic of fear," not disease, writes Dr. Vinay Prasad, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, on The Free Press. "It is natural, healthy, and necessary for young children to be exposed to many viruses. In order for children to build immunity to common pathogens — in order for them to develop a normally functioning immune system — they must have such exposure, which will sometimes make them sick."

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