Returning to school doesn’t add up


Centers for Disease Control

Staying at home is the best choice as COVID-19 rates start rising again. Photo credit: CDC

Trevor Lane, Pepper Bough Staff

Take a look at the numbers. The math doesn’t lie.

Of the 39,686 Colton residents over the age of 12 who are eligible to receive vaccinations, just shy of 58% of them have received any vaccination. Less than half are fully vaccinated.

Let’s break this down a little bit more. Since the San Bernardino vaccination dashboard only offers demographic information for the entire county, we can assume the county numbers are acceptable averages for the whole of Colton. This means only 25% of our CHS students have been fully vaccinated.

When we return to school in August, three-quarters of our student body will be potentially exposed to COVID-19.

CJUSD recently announced it will require masks be worn indoors while staff and students are on campus, with outdoor application optional. Social distancing of less than six feet will be the norm when classes resume. Everyone will once again walk the hallways, sharing germs like ideas in a conversation. Couples will hold hands, stopping to hug and kiss each other. Friends will hug and laugh, each loud proclamation of love sending out a whole new armada of viral invaders.

We can’t blame the students for this. We are all social people. We crave connection and love. The pandemic showed us just how much we need one another for survival. We tried to feed that need with Zoom and Meet video calls; we shared information in text and on social media; we even arranged “safe” get togethers as much as possible. No matter what we did, though, we discovered our need for connection was greater than originally thought.

Despite our collective needs, and in spite of state and local assurances that schools are the safest places to be, we must stay quarantined until most of us are fully vaccinated. And by most, we’re talking around 90%. That is a huge number, but herd immunity can’t happen with less than half the city vaccinated.

Since neither the state of California, nor the U.S. government require confirmation of vaccination, it is a free for all out there. Vaccinated and unvaccinated walk around with equal belief they won’t get sick. Yet, both are still testing positive. Recently, the New York Yankees experienced an outbreak of COVID that caused the cancellation of games. 85% of their team was vaccinated, and they still couldn’t play ball. Unless our government takes notice of the success being experienced by France in getting its non-compliant citizens vaccinated, quarantine is the safest option.

People want to bring their kids back to school. They want a return to normalcy. And no one wants to learn in front of a computer screen listening to the wah-wah sounds of a teacher droning in their Air Pods. However, without an actual assurance that we are safe upon returning to brick-and-mortar school, we need to be staying home.

The math doesn’t lie.