It seems that everyone in government wants to stick their nose into deciding whether our children should be physically attending school come the new school year. In other words, having school buildings open for children, teachers, office staff, custodians, food service, etc. to risk their lives in the face of coronavirus, all in the name of education.
The delusional SHITHOLE who calls himself “president” and the good-for-nothing “education secretary” Cruella DeVos can say what they want about their desire to have America’s kids to go back to school. But in conclusion, there’s not a goddamn thing they can do about how it happens. So if school district X wants to send their students back to school in a hybrid form (say two days at physical school, three days schooling at home), SHITHOLE and Cruella have no say. SHITHOLE can threaten to take away funding. Most of the funding the schools get comes from the state, possibly even the town (I know of such a district that relies on most of the funding for the school from the town itself). So SHITHOLE and Cruella can fuck right off.
What these two idiots, and the rest of their idiotic “administration” need to consider is what happens if these kids go back to school and then suddenly many people get sick. Including children. Just because “stats” claim children don’t get sick, doesn’t mean that’s the case. Many children have gotten sick from COVID-19 and some have died. Children aside, if all the teachers that taught the children got sick, then who would teach the children? Of course. The parents. At home.
On June 25, 2020 the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a 20-page booklet that they call “DESE Initial Fall 2020 Reopening Guidance”. They state that their goal for the fall is to “safely bring back as many students as possible to in-person school settings, to maximize learning and address our students’ holistic needs. With the information provided in this memo, districts and schools should begin planning for a fall return that includes multiple possibilities, with a focus first and foremost on getting our students back into school buildings”. The document also states that “districts and schools must plan not only for in-person learning, but also hybrid learning models (in which students learn in-person for some of the time and remotely for some of the time) and also full remote learning. Remote learning may be a necessary option in the fall for some students who are unable to return to school due to underlying medical conditions and potentially for all students if COVID-19 forces widespread school closures in the future.” They indicate that school districts need to have their plans presented to DESE by August. But it doesn’t give a specific date. Hope it’s before August 25, because that’s when my daughter returns to school. That’s confusion number one for me.
Confusion number two are the discrepancies they present in physical distancing. The document states that the “federal CDC has recommended maintaining a physical distance of six feet between individuals, the World Health Organization’s guidance states approximately three feet”. Then under the “Distancing Requirements” section it states “As reviewed and advised by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center Medical Advisory Group, schools should aim for a physical distance of six feet when feasible and three feet is the minimum distance allowed”. So what the fuck is it? Six feet or three feet? How about we go halfsies and call it a day?
I may have missed it but the only time they mention a bus is when they indicate everyone needs to wear a face mask on the bus. I don’t recall reading anything about how many kids they plan to fit on a bus or how they plan on sitting them on the bus. Especially if they need to remain six (or three) feet apart.
It is being recommended that students are to be placed in “cohorts” and will remain in their “cohort” throughout the day. Of course it doesn’t mention anything about the one kid in the cohort who is a bully and chooses to pick on all the other kids in the cohort. Because you know that will be the case in many “cohorts”. But that’s another topic for another day, isn’t it?
The guidelines suggest using alternative spaces in the school for teaching (i.e., cafeteria, library, auditorium). Even teaching outside. Yes, that will be great in January. It is even suggested teaching at a different location off campus. Anyone up for learning at the local Dunks?
I’m not even going to discuss the financial aspects, because apparently this document believes each school district and each school district family is loaded. Families are to provide their own face masks, but there will allegedly be back ups at school. Hand wipes. Hand sanitizer. Sanitizer I can find. Wipes I haven’t seen since February. Disinfecting wipes I haven’t seen since February either and although I know you can order the commercial brand, I hope schools realize that they are on at least a month’s back order. And to be able to provide enough of these materials for people within a school for 180 days. For some districts that cost will break them.
I can’t speak for other school districts but mine has laid off twenty-two educators. I know many others have faced the same situation and that will put a burden on many as well.
None of us know what the new school year will bring. Anyone physically going to school and getting COVID-19 will not surprise me. Because that is a very likely scenario. We can only hope for the best, hope for not many cases and hope for the best kind of education one can receive under this “new normal”.