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After 15 months of different Covid-19 restrictions, there are some crucial mistakes California made on its way back to reopening the state.
First and foremost, our children have taken an extreme toll from this pandemic. Of all 50 states in the United States, California has the LOWEST number of children back to full-in-person learning. According to research done by Burbio, almost 80% of CA students HAVE NOT seen the inside of a classroom since March 2020.
Certain cities like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, Chicago, and even New York City demonstrating that there are certain procedures that are being followed to ensure a safe return to in-person school for our children and staff - these cities will hopefully become a model for more cities to reopen their schools.
Not only are our children lacking in-person learning, but most are also lacking human interaction and are seeing many negative effects to their mental health in the last 15 months. According to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco data, there was a 66-75% increase among 10-to-17-year-olds screening positive for suicidal ideation from last year. This is a scary statistic. CDC data also shows that there was a 50% increase in emergency department visits for suicide attempts during the pandemic.
Secondly, on December 3rd, CA Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order. This stay-at-home order closed many outdoor areas including playgrounds and many restaurants offering outdoor seating. A study suggests that SARS-CoV-2 viral particles disperse in the outside air, proving this was not a scientifically based shutdown. This December shutdown took an immense effect on California's small businesses and increased social isolation amongst people.
Lastly, Since the announcement of California being given the green light for its reopening - CA politicians have praised vaccinations and if vaccinated to unmask. Though faced with a lot of opposition from residents in CA, most don't know what rules to actually follow. We see our President suggest we stop using masks while he walks out of the White House fully masked? Governor Gavin Newsom walks around masked up but often suggests we drop the masks. What rules do we follow? We should be able to trust our elected officials to give us official data, rather than flip-flopping on things they've said. We need our elected officials to lead by example and show residents of CA that things are indeed okay and on the right track towards normalcy.
We made it to June 15th - the reopening of California!