Planning and more planning to reopen schools (then plan some more)

Listening to a well-rounded discussion on NPR on going back to school makes one realize the need to plan. Buses, class sizes, cleaning, masking, outside vs. inside schooling, etc. All with a back drop of limited budgets. If this is the path forward, we should not be planning today, what should have been done months ago. The continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic should not have been a surprise with the caution-to-the-wind re-openings fueled by the president and some impatient governors. So, planning ahead should have started before the past few weeks.

NPR also played several vignettes from interviews with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. She led off several comments with “As everyone knows…” Actually that is a false introduction, as everyone does not know. It is a ploy to make the listener cede her point. Here are a few things to consider, which are not being so considered, in this binary discussion of to re-open or not.

– Schools include teachers, administrators, staff, bus drivers, etc. who are not children. Some are even in their fifties. They will be at risk as will be the folks they come in contact with.

– Kids may be less susceptible to dying, but they can still get COVID-19 and can become carriers. They have parents and grandparents and come in contact with other adults and children as will these folks.

– Kids can be harmed by COVID-19. A rising senior who had COVID-19 says walking to the bathroom even now that she has recovered leaves her out of breath. So, she is frightened by coping with walking the halls of the school. She could not even read her own story on a local NPR show, as she did not have the wind capacity, so a reporter read her narrative.

I know parents and kids want to go back to school. We all want our economy back to normal. But, we let misinformation create false hope. Misinformation has and still gives people a false sense of security. Masks, social distancing, hand-cleaning, less hand-to-face contact, etc. are keys regardless of the path we choose. What we lose sight of is the exponential risk of contact.

So, we need to plan for all variables. We need to allow for the safest path forward. That may be delay for some. That may be online schooling for others. That may include small class sizes with outdoor learning. Whatever it is, the path will not be a normal one for quite some time. And, if any politician tells you differently, then they are not shooting straight with you. So, we must look out for each other. Is that too much to ask?

8 thoughts on “Planning and more planning to reopen schools (then plan some more)

  1. Outdoor learning? how does that work in places like Buffalo? Or Chicago? or Boston? After October, there’s no outdoor learning whatsoever. We don’t all live in Florida.

    & this business about “we all want our economy back to normal” … get real already! There is no going back to normal! & for many of us, that normal sucked anyway!

    It’s time to think of something TOTALLY NEW. What was before COVID-19 is GONE. Never to return. Like that marriage that is over. You have to get used to the new reality. There is no going back.

    • Thanks for your comment. True, what plays in Tampa won’t play in Buffalo. The NPR education experts were saying the education leaders are exploring various options for the communities, some of which included outside classes during a two-week getting to know you period with the teacher.

      As for the economy, you are right, approaching a new normal will take much time. I see a future with fewer handshakes, more masks, and fewer sit-down restaurant visits as a new normal. I think take-outorders will be the more normative way. I hope the new normal includes more renewable energy. Coal has been in decline for a decade and with less travel, oil is in less demand.

      But, wishing for a yesterday’s normal will not happen. We must craft a new way that is safe and sustainable. Keith

  2. This is extremely well done. In general, we need to be more cautious and realize that things are NOT normal and we need to be a bit more humble in the face of something we simply cannot master as of yet.

    • Hugh, thanks. Thinking we can master nature is an arrogance we can’t seem to overcome. Pandemics will find a way. So, we must be smart about how we move forward. Keith

  3. If anyone thinks we can go back to where we were pre-2020 they are mistaken. We are in the Covid-19 era. We mere creatures on this planet will now have to learn to adapt. Not all the conspiracy-theorists, ring-wing radio talk-show hosts, ‘Trumpests’ ‘Fundamentalists or just the plain irresponsible shouting and parading about like spoilt children because it’s raining and they can’t go out, will halt one single virus.

    • Roger, true. I was pleased the Republicans in Congress shut down Trump hinting at the idea of delaying the election, a horrendous idea. Yet, they are not ready to condemn his candidacy. As the deaths mount and cases increases, it is harder for the COVID-19 mishandling by Trump to be hidden. Keith

      • Trump displayed yet again his staggering ignorance of not just the US political system but its folklore.
        Deep within the GOP community memory is the long tenure of FDR which as soon as they got the chance they made sure would never happen again.
        By suggesting a delay Trump raised in the thin end of that wedge. He is probably not aware of the fact but he will not be around forever, The GOP will though (as it were); well aware that if ‘he’ did it so could a future Democrat president.
        And that’s before we get around to the even more basic fact that a president has to go to Congress first (not his)
        As a president there are some things you just do not voice. A truly experienced professional politician would know this.
        You have a small-town loudmouth in the Whitehouse….No I take that back. That’s an insult to small towns.

      • Roger, good comment. Several things are at work here. The text was to distract from the morning announcement the US GDP in the second quarter decreased by 32.9%. That is not a typo and the decimal is in the right place.

        The other is Trump knows he is losing. So, he reverts to modus operandi to lie and cheat. He did this in 2016, when his campaign knew that US intelligence was aware of Russian interference. So, to distract and project his own culpability, Trump said he did not think the elections were being fair to him. He knew what he was doing and it may have caused Obama not to make public what he was told to avoid appearing partisan.

        This is the same drill. He is sowing seeds of doubt. He would rather destroy institutions than to lose. His fragile ego cannot take losing. It saddens me that the US president is like this, but it further saddens me when sycophants who should know better and are supposed to know better kowtow to this corrupt and deceitful person.

        Keith

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