We sit here in the middle of July, knowing a few things and a few things only about millions of students, grades K-12, and their likelihood of returning to in-person learning in a few weeks:
— That no one has any idea if returning to the classroom is “safe,” and no one will for months. Anyone who says they “know it’s safe” or “know that it’s NOT safe” is lying.
— That all of these “they MUST return to the classroom” people, led by our “President” and his minions in government, are only thinking about students, who are considered very low-risk for being infected with coronavirus, and thinking about the economy, which will certainly get a boost if parents are able to get back to work full-time, and not giving a hoot about TEACHERS, you know, like usual.
Teachers, school librarians, nurses, all personnel who make that school your kids goes to run smoothly, or at least passably? They’re not kids. They’re grownups just like you. And they absolutely could get infected from an asymptomatic carrier like a 7-year-old.
It is disgusting how Trump, Pence and so many others have spared not even a thought for teachers, but that’s normal, they never give a damn about teachers. Unless they run a family planning class that teaches kids that abortion is a sin, or a class in the differences in types of firearms.
— One thing we know for certain, and this been known for years, is that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is one of the biggest morons walking the face of the Earth: A person both stupid, AND evil, and yet in a position of power. Exhibit 4,323 of her “genius.”
— Another point I want to make, which I’ve seen elsewhere, is that school re-opening is an evolving situation, very fluid and not set in stone.
If most school districts believe starting out with remote schooling in August and September is the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean they won’t transition to in-person schooling as we learn more about the virus, and as it hopefully settles down. Everything can change, and just because the school year might start with kids at home doesn’t mean it will END that way. Way too many absolutist voices out there shouting it’ll be a “disaster” if kids don’t get a full school year in the classroom.
— Finally, look, I’m a parent, and I’m worried. I’m worried about my kid getting sick, I’m worried about his fabulous teachers and staff at his elementary school getting sick, and I’m worried about his social, emotional and academic development being stunted by more online-only learning.
But I think it would be a very big mistake to rush back into classrooms just because some short-sighted politicians don’t want to “give in” to the virus. Everything about the last five months has been unprecedented. We don’t know what will happen next.
Proceeding cautiously, as so many states right now are seeing huge spikes in coronavirus cases, has to be the only way to go.
It’s the sensible thing. Which is why, given our current leadership, I am certain it won’t be what’s done.
**Next up today, this is normally the day after the magnificent Wimbledon Championships have ended, and a day which I am happy and sad.
Happy because we’ve just had a wonderful fortnight of tennis, but sad because it’s over.
Myself and millions of other tennis addicts did not, of course, get Wimbledon this year, and that made me sad. I felt better Sunday night watching this magnificent Wimbledon memory, the epic fourth-set tiebreak from 2008, as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battled in the best men’s match I’ve ever seen.
Just magnificent. Yeah, I needed this. See you next year (I hope), Wimbledon.
**And finally today, I thoroughly enjoyed, even while ultimately despairing at the subject’s conclusion, this profile of a journalist named Evan Brandt, the last news reporter at a newspaper in Pottstown, Pa.
As the paper’s owner has made cut after cut, it’s fallen to Brandt to keep the town’s news afloat; he’s the only one reporting on school board meetings and local legistation; high school basketball triumphs and orchestra concerts.
He works out of his attic, he’s so beautifully dedicated to his town, and as a former ink-stained wretch who will ALWAYS be a newspaper reporter in my blood, I love this man.
“Evan is the voice of the voiceless,” said Johnny Corson, the president of the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “He speaks for the little people. If we lose him, we’re in trouble.”
Just a really wonderful job of reporting and writing by the NYT’s Dan Barry here.