More than two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has dropped or scaled back almost all the recommendations they made to keep children safe in schools.

Gone is “social distancing” — a practice we were informed would last “forever.” Masking requirements are also gone except in areas of “high community transmission.” And the practice of “quarantining” — keeping a child home for ten days if they’ve been exposed to COVID — has also been ended.

It looks like public school teachers don’t have any more excuses not to teach classes.

“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines.

Are they really?

Associated Press:

Many places around the country long ago abandoned social distancing and other once-common precautions, but some of the changes could be particularly important for schools, which resume classes this month in many parts of the country.

Perhaps the biggest education-related change is the end of the recommendation that schools do routine daily testing, although that practice can be reinstated in certain situations during a surge in infections, officials said.

The CDC also dropped a “test-to-stay” recommendation, which said students exposed to COVID-19 could regularly test — instead of quarantining at home — to keep attending school. With no quarantine recommendation anymore, the testing option disappeared too.

The teachers’ unions bowed to the inevitable and will embrace the new guidelines.

“Every educator and every parent starts every school year with great hope, and this year even more so,” President Randi Weingarten said. “After two years of uncertainty and disruption, we need as normal a year as possible so we can focus like a laser on what kids need.”

The new recommendations prioritize keeping children in school as much as possible, said Joseph Allen, director of Harvard University’s healthy building program. Previous isolation policies forced millions of students to stay home from school, he said, even though the virus poses a relatively low risk to young people.

“Entire classrooms of kids had to miss school if they were deemed a close contact,” he said. “The closed schools and learning disruption have been devastating.”

Mr. Allen is pretending we weren’t warned of the enormous damage being done to children denied the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting. And it wasn’t medicine or science that kept the schools closed; it was politics. It was Joe Biden claiming to “follow the science” because he believed it was politically advantageous to contrast his “scientific” approach to the pandemic with the Republicans’ more realistic approach. It was teachers’ unions pressuring the CDC to maintain pandemic restrictions even as evidence mounted that the restrictions were unnecessary and harming kids. It was the public health bureaucracy resenting lay people arguing with them about the necessity for many of these restrictions — even though the lay people were, in many cases, proven right.

Two years of schooling has been lost for millions of kids who will now go on to adulthood handicapped by public health bureaucrats who either got it wrong or allowed politics to cloud their judgment.

It’s not a tragedy. Tragedies are unavoidable. It’s a calamity caused by small-minded people whose ambition overrode common sense and common decency.

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