The CDC just released guidelines for getting kids back to school in the fall that emphasize putting children back in the classroom despite the dangers of COVID-19. While everyone understands that it's important for kids to continue their education, many are concerned that physically going back to school in the fall poses a major risk not only for students but for teachers, administrators, other school staff, and families.
There is no comprehensive treatment for COVID-19; people are still dying of the virus at an alarming rate. It's gotten to the point where young, healthy teachers are getting their wills in order ahead of their return to the classroom.
Blogger Melissa Hillman is among those who anticipate total disaster if schools are allowed to reopen fully in the fall. In a powerful thread, she details what she thinks will happen. And it seems extremely plausible. There are no overarching plans for keeping teachers and students safe from each other, and people are going to die.
Teachers are already woefully under-appreciated and underpaid. No teacher gets paid enough to literally risk their life on a daily basis, no matter how important their job is.
Schools around the country were already underfunded before the pandemic hit. Unless states shift their budgets to pump way more money into schools to buy protective gear, keep schools clean, and do some massive planning, it will be impossible for school districts to actually keep everyone safe when they return to the classroom in less than two months. It's just not going to happen.
Teachers are already overextended as it is. They often have to buy actual school supplies with their own money. Leaving teachers in charge of sterilizing their own classrooms and having PPE for everybody simply won't work.
The fact that we're even having this discussion at the end of July, when schools are supposed to open in August and September, is the very crux of the problem. No one has bothered to think about how devastating this will be for teachers, and then they'll get mad when teachers start striking because their lives are in danger.
Like I said before, teachers simply do not make enough money to risk their lives every day. No matter how much they love their job and love their students, it's just not worth the risk.
No one has stopped to think about what will happen when the virus inevitably breaks out in a school. Schools are swarms of people interacting with each other, passing along germs all day long. When COVID-19 hits a school, it will have to be put on lockdown, stressing out parents and sending whole communities back to quarantine mode. But schools haven't thought ahead that far.
This is devastating. People who have been urging schools to reopen keep saying that the virus doesn't effect kids as badly, but they don't take into account all of the adults these kids will come into contact with and potentially infect. Kids will pass the virus to their teachers or their parents and then have to live with the fact that they may be responsible for someone's death.
Melissa is right. Virtually no planning has gone into the push to open schools again. We're focusing solely on the idea that kids need an education, but we're not providing teachers with the necessary time and tools to make online learning a viable option or in-person learning safe.
Government leaders are obsessed with the idea of jumpstarting the economy. It's why many states opened up too soon, resulting in even more deaths and sickness and sudden closures. If everyone just hunkered down, stayed inside, wore masks, and got paid to do so, we could have gotten COVID-19 under control a long time ago.
It's bizarre that some people think that large gatherings of people in schools are somehow going to be different than large gatherings of people elsewhere. If you can't have a party or go to a concert or sporting event, you shouldn't have to go to school. It's the same thing. The virus will spread and the results will be horrific.
The problem is that many government officials are willing to sacrifice lives to boost the economy, especially lives that they're not directly connected to (people of color, the working class, etc.). The issue with that (besides the inhumanity) is that when people start dying because schools reopen, which they will, we'll have to shut down again, which will just hurt the economy more.
Kids, especially little kids, likely won't understand the full gravity of the situation and will have trouble maintaining social distance. When kids are at school but they can't act like they're at school and everyone's afraid of catching or spreading a deadly virus, how do you think that's going to affect their education? At least with online learning, they don't have to exist with that worry all day every day.
It's extremely clear to so many people, including teachers, that opening schools in the fall will only have disastrous results. Listen to them. They know what it will be like. They want support from their districts, which need support from their local governments. And they don't want to die. That should be enough.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading the coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.