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  • Writer's pictureH.D. Campbell

To Open Schools Or Not? That Is The Debate!

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a very good educator friend of mine and she's afraid of returning to school in this environment especially since the district she works in hasn't made a decision in how classes are going to work when school opens.

Some schools are doing a 100 percent virtual option while others are doing blended option with two days in school and the rest of the week virtual. Very few schools are flirting with a 100 percent in school option which some teachers are not happy about. Many of them having to sign wavers saying if they get sick from Covoid-19, then the school holds no responsibility to the teacher. in speaking to my friend, she's both afraid and angered at the lack of empathy for both the educators or the students.

Earlier this month, President Trump and the Education Secretary Betsey DeVos urged the opening of The Nation's schools however some governors are allowing school districts to choose options mainly leaving a lot of the decisions to the districts themselves. Many Covoid deniers and those opposing the stay at home option are angered at the decision to reopen schools. While this is bad on students to attend schools, no one even mentioned the impact, it would have on teachers, coaches, nurses, custodial, food service, office staff, security and the thousands of other adults working alongside the children daily. That's a lot of extra money to spend in rearranging classrooms to lower the number of students per rooms. More buses may have to take children to schools to satisfy social distancing. In addition to more custodial staff, teachers must also assist in keeping their classrooms sanitary.

The extra responsibility on teachers take away from an already huge work load of lesson plans, grading papers, mentoring students, teaching students and the thousand of other responsibilities they now have to modify. Many of which would rather do the virtual option because all they would have to do is interact with students but in a safe environment. It's hard enough keeping kids safe in the era of school shootings, now we're in the middle of a pandemic.

This week Donald Trump canceled both legs of the Republican National Convention due to Coronavirus concerns. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former attorney, jailed for his role in the scandal that led to his impeachment was released this week and put on house arrest for the remainder of his sentence due to Coronavirus concerns. In other words, we can cancel entire conventions and release prisoners to spare people from getting sick but we can't give the same courtesy to our children. To make matters worse, we don't even get CDC findings any more because Trump ordered the Coronavirus numbers go straight to him and not through the CDC.

Conspiracy theorists are too busy blaming Dr. Fauci and the CDC for "not knowing what they're talking about" or "lying about the number". For one thing, when dealing with a pandemic like this where the numbers in every category are so high, expect mistakes even from the most professional of organizations. Also while everyone is making the CDC and Fauci to be evil, remember Trump isn't a doctor and the reason Dr. Fauci is a pariah with the Administration is solely because he wouldn't be Trump's yes man or go to bat for Trump on anything other than the truth. The only reason numbers are like this in the first place is because, the pandemic team as we knew it was disbanded with some being fired and other being merged into a team Trump put together. Dr. Fauci had been in service since the Reagan administration.

Back to the schools. All of this have a huge affect on classes. This and the politics of money. With families out of work because they're being furloughed and then waiting for the first stimulus, they had to find ways to keep bills paid and food on the table. Fortunately the Food Stamp Program provided some relief for all Americans who took advantage of it as well as filing for Unemployment Insurance. Now we're waiting for Congress to pass a second stimulus which now has to be divided into bills and back to school supplies, clothes, and transportation costs. This is for teachers as well as students. Teachers also need gas, supplies, their own bills paid and more.

One thing the pandemic did prove however is that teachers are and should be appreciated more than the "babysitters" some parents make them out to be. They spend time with your children all day at school and many times after school (without pay at times). This has also been a rare opportunity for parents to respect the teachers for their patience and their knowledge. Even during the pandemic, many still went the extra mile in calling students and assisting them to help them pass their grades.

In speaking to my educator friend about this, she brought up a very great point.

"I feel for the parents that don't have daycare, etc. Not to be mean, but they should've saw this coming and planned accordingly. Then, there's the issue of school being a safe haven for the kids, not to mention that's where some of them get meals."

With so many schools dragging their feet, it's time to make your move. Hazelwood school district just this week did an about face with in person school and made it it 100 percent virtual for students. Many teachers much like my friend love the 100 percent virtual option. Many parents like the 100 percent virtual option. There are a few who prefer the blended option but the 100 percent in-person option should not be on the table at this time until we get this pandemic under control. It's time to make our voices know. Leave a comment and I will share it throughout social media and the public.

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