No matter how anyone will try to justify it, it is still too early to lift the nationwide quarantine on minors and to allow them to go outside of their homes. It’s simply a bad idea.
The main argument against lifting the quarantine is that the deadly Covid-19 virus is still out there. People are still dying, and although there are vaccines in sight, their efficacy and safety are still the subjects of intense debate and analysis by health experts worldwide.
Add to that the disturbing news of a new coronavirus strain related to Covid-19 but reportedly deadlier or easier to contract by the youth and the aged. First discovered in the United Kingdom three weeks ago, that new strain is reportedly now in Luzon.
Why then should minors be allowed outside their homes when these serious threats to their health and safety are very much around?
There are already so many people out in the streets, in offices, and in shopping malls that law enforcers find it well-nigh impossible to implement social distancing and other health protocols. Allowing minors to go outside of their homes will translate to more people outdoors, which increases the chances of more people contracting and spreading the coronavirus and its new strain.
That, in turn, will increase the demand for medical treatment and medical facilities, wear out medical frontliners, and add to the national debt.
What makes it necessary to allow minors to go outside their homes during these deadly times anyway?
Indeed, nobody likes to be restricted to one’s home, but then the Covid-19 menace is still out there. Inevitably, therefore, the State must protect minors from their own improvidence, and from the consequences of reckless adventure identified with being young.
Being kept indoors for an indefinite duration may have some psychological effects on minors, but only if their minds are left needlessly unoccupied. The solution to the psychological problem is to make the most of available resources.
Aside from those asinine noontime shows, there are a number of television programs today that can keep minors occupied at home. If a parent or elder is around, then the adult can watch television with the young ones and provide them guidance while watching, or immediately after watching time is over.
To the optimist, the current quarantine on minors is actually an opportunity to entice children to turn to old fashioned reading.
Having books and periodicals in a household is the ideal, but in their default, the Internet provides an endless source of wholesome, informative reading materials, if one knows where to search.
For minors stuck at home, there is a world out there filled with stories about heroes, great artists and scientists, historic events, science and technology, the arts and the humanities, not to mention plain and simple entertainment fare.
Readings are now available to minors either by reaching for the printed material itself from the bookshelf, or by pressing a key on a personal computer or a mobile phone.
Minors can likewise put their indefinite containment at home to good use by playing indoor board games.
Chess teaches strategy and sharpens the mind. The board game Scrabble and similar word games add to the language proficiency of youngsters. The famous real estate trading game Monopoly provides young minds with financial and trade sense.
Parents can buy these board games from the stores or access them online at minimal expense.
The long stay indoors provides kids a chance to learn forgotten indigenous games like sungka, patintero and tumbang preso, to name a few.
All the foregoing games provide endless and inexpensive wholesome entertainment. They are also alternatives to cyber sites like Facebook. Those sites, if irresponsibly used, promote gossip, invasion of privacy and fake news, and can trigger law suits for cyber libel.
Allowing minors to miss out on such opportunities for self-improvement during their forced quarantine may even contribute to juvenile delinquency.
Far from being a problem, the current quarantine for minors is a golden opportunity for parents to invest in their children.
Lifting the quarantine for minors too early will be a step in the wrong direction for everybody.