OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The CDC has issued a labyrinth of guidelines for schools reopening.
My overall takeaway response: The CDC can kiss my a$$. I am furious…for parents and the kids!
Children need a formal education and socialization. E-learning is not cutting it. If it truly represents replacement of an actual school day, we should close the schools. At least that was how I felt after doing e-learning with my kids.
The CDC site “offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.”
I’ll tell you how I want my community to implement these ridiculous suggestions.
The CDC has categorized school activities into three levels of risk.
Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.
There is no explanation as to what makes the “highest risk” all that risky, considering children, mercifully, are largely unaffected by this virus.
The CDC also recommends the use of masks, even for the students. So basically, the CDC is recommending torture for teachers trying to enforce this.
Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings. Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
Some of the guidelines are just commonsense ideas that should always be practiced, but especially during cold and flu season. These include CDC suggestions such as sanitizing high-touch surfaces, handwashing, and covering coughs and sneezes.
I don’t know about your schools, but the following “suggestions” are not “feasible” at our public schools.
- Space desks 6 feet apart. We do not have even close to enough room to accomplish this.
- One child per row on school buses and skip rows. Our district has overcrowded buses and a bus driver shortage as it is.
- Close playgrounds. This is just a, “No, thank you.” Children need to run and play!
- No field trips, student assemblies, special performances, spirit nights, etc. I suppose these are “feasible” but….
- Keep student and staff groupings “static”. For our school, this would mean staying with the classroom teacher all day and eliminating STEM, Art, Library, P.E., and Music. Who needs a well-rounded child anyway?
- Daily health-checks of students. Well, we’ve already been told daily checks of students for weapons with metal detectors is not feasible in my school district. So, we certainly couldn’t be checking everyone’s temperatures every day.
The CDC suggests virtual learning for high-risk students. This makes sense. Parents who are comfortable sending their kids to school should. Parents who are not should be offered the option of e-learning. Indiana already offers a free, public online homeschool, so we seem perfectly setup to accommodate students learning from home.
These CDC guidelines highlight that we have lost our minds. Children are much more at risk from influenza than COVID-19. The response is disproportionate to the actual level of risk. We cannot follow these rules if we ever hope to give our kids some semblance of normalcy and a decent education. If we keep doing this, our kids are going to have a major complex and suffer emotionally, socially, and academically.
Here’s a handy-dandy guide that outlines the impossible criteria that I hope neither your governor nor my governor adheres to. It will take guts to stand against the hysteria and the Karens of the world.