Ross: Common sense the only way to avoid fall COVID school closures

Sep 7, 2022, 7:20 AM | Updated: Sep 9, 2022, 7:32 am

David Veesler holds a model of the GPB510 vaccine in the Veesler Lab at the University of Washingto...

David Veesler holds a model of the GPB510 vaccine in the Veesler Lab at the University of Washington on May 10, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

If the pattern holds, there will be a fall surge in COVID cases.

But things are different this time around: The current version of the disease seems milder, there are effective vaccines, and an updated booster is on the way. Many kids, according to the latest research, probably got the infection without knowing it, and are now immune, and no government officials are talking about closing schools again.

It would be nice if I could just end the commentary there, but when you’re talking about a virus that happens to be very talented at mutating. Even the experts don’t want to predict what might happen.

Fortunately, I’m not an expert, so I have no qualms about predicting what might happen. I will predict there will be no government-mandated school shutdowns.

But please, hold your applause.

Because even with schools officially open, if a rogue mutation leaves too many teachers and students too sick to attend, you could end up with empty schools anyway. So, I asked Dr. Keith Jerome, director of the UW virology lab, what we could do to prevent that:

“Well, the best way to try to keep society going and live the lives they want is to take common sense precautions that that don’t wreck our lives,” Dr. Jermone said.

Of course, he recommends getting the vaccines even if you’re not forced to, but you also might want to channel your inner virologist and adopt one of his daily habits:

“I always have a mask in my pocket,” Dr. Jerome added.

Yes! And why not. We have plenty now. They don’t take up much room. They’re not that uncomfortable – and I even find they prevent me from a lot of unnecessary snacking!

“And if I’m in a place where I feel like it’s a little bit crowded, I pop that mask on, and when we’re with friends, it’s a small group, then of course not we don’t wear masks,” Dr. Jerome continued.

The way I see it, popping on a mask in a crowd should be no different than putting on a baseball cap when the sun’s in your eyes.

Just common sense. Notice no shaming, no mandates, no mention of the governor invoking emergency powers – in fact, just the opposite. Each of us has now been given the emergency power to stop viral transmission and avoid the hospital so that the schools can remain full of healthy teachers and students.

Except when there’s a strike.

Not much a virologist can do about that.

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Ross: Common sense the only way to avoid fall COVID school closures