The Countdown to Reopen Schools
We may have been worried before, but it is getting real. We have less than a month. The reopening process for U.S. schools is, no doubt, daunting. We are worse off in the pandemic than we were when we closed down in March. Though I have tried to be a voice of reason, I feel that I am losing the battle. Parents want or need to get back to work. The economy is the impetus for reopening schools - not the education or safety of children. The more I research about this virus, the less I know. The data changes every day. We are making critical decisions based on fluctuating and ever-evolving data.
More and more research has percolated that time spent indoors in a populated area can increase risk. Aerosols continue to linger in the air long after the cough, sneeze, and speech have ended. The longer one has exposure to droplets in the air, the likelihood of contracting the virus increases. Again, why do we have children from communities jammed into public school building rebreathing air for hours?
I recently heard an argument that considers 3 feet sufficient distance between students, while another source continues to argue that 6 feet distance between children is not enough. Again, the data and interpretations change daily. The virus does not have a measuring stick, nor does it discuss the point of infection. The infection is opportunistic and quickly spread. Regardless of the hard and fast rule, we believe the virus follows; children will not abide by distance.
We still have people who feel mask requirements are violating their political rights. These perceived violations and personal agendas perpetuated in homes will result in many students arriving at school maskless. How many will parents argue that their precious wonder should not wear a mask - even if it keeps the child and others safe? It only takes one weak link in a chain before many are infected. There will most likely be entitlement issues exercised more and more as we deal with this pandemic in a Godless society.
Constantly Disinfecting Surfaces:
Except for playground equipment - the virus doesn’t cause infections when on playground equipment, just all other material. As long as you disinfect after hundreds of kids have already used it, that should be fine. Right? Wrong! Children can spread the viral load on the surfaces, rub their eyes, etc. Do we think the viruses all got together and determined it can only spread while on indoor equipment, not outdoor equipment? Any surface can be a vector in a pandemic! Educated people try to convince me that common sense is not what the science states. A surface is a surface. A virus is a virus. We tell each other to wash our hands because we can get sick from touching contaminated surfaces! Please don’t lose your heads in all so-called science and semantics. Think! We closed playgrounds this spring for a reason - to keep others safe. Now we will open it all back up?
Sure. Let’s have contact sport with sweat, yelling, and heavy breathing. The virus got together again and confirmed that sports also would not spread disease. Only at other times, just not during sports. Are you kidding me? Why? Is your child’s need for recreational sports so imperative that you decided to subject him or her and others to a possibly fatal disease just to keep them busy? Sports are a perfect breeding ground for virtual proliferation! Look at what has happened with baseball teams this summer?
We still don’t have any longitudinal studies on the long-term effects of this virus on otherwise asymptomatic or healthy children and adults - but hey - let’s put them all together in school, on the sports field, in camps in daycare and other programs! Do no harm! Yet, we all seem to be throwing caution to the wind, listening to shoddy studies that often contradict each other, and going about our lives as though no virus is present in society! It wasn’t that long ago the so-called experts at WHO and the CDC said masks are ineffective - though I never agreed. A mask provides a barrier to stop the spread of germs from practitioner to a patient and stop the spread of microbes from patient to practitioner. But in the case of COVID19, this is not true? Perhaps the virus particles decided this and told the policymakers. We know masks can protect us, but it was the experts who tried to convince us otherwise. Now masks are all the rage and are mandated. Think about safe practices and universal precautions. Use common sense.
Going Against Reason:
A staff member recently pointed out that if the discussion about reopening schools is happening online, perhaps we should not be opening schools! Makes sense! Nope. Now the school board insists on meeting gin person! Okay, let’s just defy common sense. Let us have all kinds of school board members, community audiences, etc. piling into our schools and adding more viral load. Way to prove us wrong! I have been on more reopening task force meetings, school board meetings, teacher union meetings this summer, and NONE of our ideas are foolproof! There is NO way to assure students, parents, staff, and communities will not fall ill.
Give It Time:
No teacher wants blood on their hands, or to be agents in a system that would cause it. Please, wait. We now know children can get the virus. We now know children spread the virus. Is it worth the risk at this point? Keep kids safe at home until hopefully this virus attenuates, eventually loses lethality, and perhaps we have a vaccine. It is because we no longer abide by safety precautions that this virus continues to spread rampantly. People may be sick of this virus, but the virus doesn’t care. COVID19 is here. People get sick and die. The virus just needs an opportunity to infect others. Don’t give it a chance.
~Amanda Allison, M.Ed.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Amanda Allison