School Days Loom, Here Comes Doom And Gloom
School Days Loom, Here Comes Doom And Gloom
The lazy, crazy days of summer are seemingly never-ending. Probably because some of our kids have been out of school since mid-March.
It’s now nearing the end of July and the start of school looms about for some states in the month of August. But alas, there has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. And “research”, if you are watching the news, is now stating that the increase of cases has been seen in young people.
Thus, with school days looming, everyone is freaking out. Teachers are freaking out. They don’t get paid enough to risk their lives. Parents are freaking out. How will little Johnny who starts Kindergarten keep a mask on his face (he won’t) while resisting the urge to pick a booger from his nose and wipe it on his neighbor, little Emily? How will kids stand six feet apart when lining up in the morning? Will temperatures be taken at school or on the bus before arriving at school? How will classrooms be cleaned? And, heavens no! The kids CANNOT share supplies! Will children go to school all day, five days a week or will the schools opt for distance learning?
Then there’s this:
Moms of special needs students. Working, single moms who have had to quit their jobs.
Schools in Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified School Districts will begin their school year with online instruction. Prince Georges County, Maryland has also announced their plan to kick off the start of school with a distance-learning model, with no plans to return to in-classroom instruction until at least February of 2021.
Yes, February of 2021.
Meanwhile, in my wacky state of Washington, governor Jay Inslee and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdahl, are considering “granting priority to non-white students during proposed reopening phases”. Hmmm.
Then, there’s the teachers’ union in Los Angeles that says school cannot happen until there is a vaccine for COVID-19:
UTLA educators are eager to get back to classrooms where they can care for, laugh with, and most importantly, teach our students,” the UTLA said in a press statement. “The eventual restarting of schools should be primarily about learning, not merely about the economy. Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people. The Trump administration’s attempt to force people to return to work on a large scale depends on restarting schools so parents have childcare.
Educators know better than most the critical role that schools play in children’s lives, supporting not just their educational lives but their social and physical development. But until a vaccine or cure is available, starting school without policies in place to mitigate viral spread and provide additional student supports will almost certainly compound the pandemic’s outsize trauma on those students and their families.”-UTLA
Don’t worry, UTLA also called for the defunding of Charter schools because they “drain the system”, for defunding the police and also for Medicare For All in their list of demands. You can read their whole report here.
Educators know better than most. The Trump administration hardly forced people to go back to work. Most wanted to go back to work. Why? Because lives and livelihoods go hand in hand. If one loses their livelihood, what kind of life is that? But how is defunding the police or charter schools going to make life better or help public schools open faster, exactly? What does ANY of this have to do with finding a vaccine or even a cure for COVID-19?
Enter North Carolina’s Durham Association of Educators. What do they want in order to open schools? Universal healthcare, as well as guaranteed income regardless of a person’s immigration status.
We lack confidence because the current proposal does not ensure our health and safety, and is without a clearly defined plan for school operations. Politicians and school administrators are under enormous pressure to re-open schools, no matter the risk. They are prepared to let us get sick and die.”-
Durham Association of Educators
So as it stands right now, depending on the state you are in, there are teachers that are fearful of going back into the classroom and they think Universal Healthcare and guaranteed income for illegal immigrants will fix this problem. There are teachers who feel that because of inequities, a middle-class black student should be granted the priority of in-school instruction over a white, homeless student. There are teachers that think that shrinking the options for parents by eliminating charter schools from the equation is good for your child’s education. Then there are the “Karen Moms” on community pages who think that school should be completely shut down until there is a vaccine and don’t want other parents to have a say in this or a choice.
The evidence suggests that children are less likely to become infected, less likely to develop severe disease and less likely to transmit the virus to other children and adults.”-Dr. William Raszka Jr. of the University of Vermont School of Medicine
It seems as if, when we listen to the news of late, that people have forgotten about a little thing called the immune system. My theory is that this wonderful re-discovery will occur sometime around the beginning of November. And if Joe Biden is elected, he will push through his senility to find the cure for COVID-19. Cases will be down. Deaths will be down. I hope, sincerely, you won’t have to mark my words here because that actually means Biden will get elected. Trust me, they’re trying. This is all part of it, don’t be mistaken.
So much is unknown. While some teachers are playing the victim and not willing to “risk their lives” until ridiculous, unrelated demands are met, there are also the teachers who want to get back into the classrooms and need a little grace at this time because they are not sure what the answer is. There are parents who need teachers, support them (because not all are completely unreasonable) and appreciate them as partners in their students’ education. We don’t know what the answer is. But locking down our children for over six months and denying them education and needed, meaningful social interaction is not that answer.
Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Alan Levine/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped