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Mon Jul 6, 2020, 08:05 PM

From a teacher friend....the last paragraph nails it! [View all]

I get it. I do. You need schools to open because...holy crap youíre not getting anything done, your kids need to see other kids, you have a job to do, and you just plain need a break. I get it. I do.

Iíve seen the research. Kids are, as much as we can determine barely six months into a pandemic, less likely to get it. Theyíre less likely to suffer from a severe form of the disease, possibly less likely to transmit it. The calls for opening schools with this data make total sense. Are you going to send your kids into a building with no adults? No. So when youíre out there demanding that schools open and all of your arguments are about you, about what you need, about what your kids need, but NEVER ONCE mention the dangers to the staff and faculty who will necessarily need to be in those schools, you can see where Iím a little concerned.

Iíve accepted that I ask my friends two or three times a year to donate food to our ďsnack closetĒ because ending poverty, let alone childhood poverty and all the many things that encompasses it, seems to be beyond us. Iíve accepted that I spend hundreds of dollars of my own money every year to buy things my students need because adequately funding schools seems to be beyond us. Iíve accepted that there might come a time I have to lock my students in the closet in my classroom - and let me tell you how blessed I feel that I have a closet big enough to fit all of my kids - because reasonable gun control seems to be beyond us.

Now youíre asking us to accept going back into classrooms in the middle of a pandemic. Classrooms that are located in buildings that have been neglected for decades (please see: adequate funding), that in some cases have no windows that open, where our support people - occupational therapists, speech therapists are working in closets (please see: adequate funding), and buildings that have sketchy HVAC on a good day.

Youíll forgive us if weíre not quite onboard with this idea yet. You see, if we want hand sanitizer in our classrooms, we have to ask parents to donate it. If we want Lysol wipes for our classrooms, we have to ask our parents to donate it. If we want tissues for snotty noses, we have to ask our parents to donate it. They do. Every year they do and many of them donate these things despite their precarious financial situations. I have no doubt that those parents would make these donations again - despite their much more precarious financial situation - if those things were available for purchase.

Since, for the entire two decades Iíve been teaching, weíve been asking parents to donate basic school supplies because we canít or wonít adequately fund education, you might see where weíre a little hesitant to go back into those classrooms without masks, without face shields, because masks donít work with the littlest kids (though face shields really arenít nearly as effective as masks, butÖ), without any promise of reliable, regular testing with a quick turnaround of results, without any plan for what happens when someone gets sick, without any plan for what staff and faculty do when someone in their family is sick, without any plan on how we help parents who need the childcare, so theyíre forced to give kids Tylenol in order to get through the temperature screening so they donít lose their job, without any promise of additional money to hire more teachers, to lease more space, to scale up what distance learning will or could look like. (Does anyone really think weíre going to make it through flu season without ending up right where we were in March?)

Do you know what schools look like once school starts? We are a snotty, sneezing, sniffly, coughing mess and that's without spike proteins invading our beings.

Iím worried for me. I have parents who are considered elderly (sorry about that, but you are). Parents I have only seen from a distance since early March, except for that super socially-distanced Fatherís Day. Iím worried for teachers who are parents - what will they do with their kids whose school schedules might be wildly different than that of their parents. Iím worried for the teachers who are older (and Iím REALLY sorry Iím considered one of them). But Iím more worried about our custodial staff, bus drivers, our cafeteria workers, our instructional assistants who are far more likely to be BIPOC, people who are far less likely to have the resources needed to survive an extended illness (again, not funding what matters), whose family members are more likely to be considered an essential worker in some other field.I donít see anyone having these conversations.

I donít see ANY consideration for the adults in school buildings in all the articles calling for schools to open. AAP is telling schools to open, but not giving any guidance on how to do so safely for students AND staff alike. That must be nice. You have to open and good luck on figuring out how to make that work. Weíre used to flying by the seat of our pants and making it work. This is a piss-poor solution most of the time and it is a completely untenable one in the middle of a pandemic, one that has been managed in the worst possible way at the federal level.

Iím worried for my kids. I know they need to be back at school. I saw how distance learning went this spring. It wasnít pretty. I know that our kids need teachers who arenít terrified to be at work because thereís nothing in place that would suggest society values teachers as more than cheap childcare, despite the fact that this spring and summer should have sounded that message loud and clear. I know our kids need to be around each other.

Iím worried that people are going to start calling for ďnormalĒ school. Nothing about this is normal. Even if kids are in school full time, nothing about this is going to be normal. Weíre going to be facing kids who are dealing with layer upon layer of trauma, we need to make time and space for that, so stop telling me kids are behind. Theyíre not any further behind than anyone else. Theyíre behind some arbitrary lines we drew in the sand so long ago weíre not sure we remember why we drew them. We need to meet our kids where they are. I don't want to hear one word about testing, unless it involves a nasal or throat swab. Not. One. Word.

The worst part about this is the completely cavalier attitude I see from far too many about doing what needs to be done if you have even half a prayer of opening schools this fall. Wear a mask. Stay home. No, you donít need to eat in that restaurant. No, you donít need to go visit your parents or friends 5 states away. No, you donít need to go hang out with your friends because youíll really stay 6 feet away - let me assure you that the pictures youíve posted show me that is almost never true. Yes. You need to wear a mask. Yes. You need to stay home unless itís really important. If you canít do any of those things, but want me to go back to school in August with a smile on my face, youíre asking me to make far bigger sacrifices than the ones youíve been willing to make so far.

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Reply From a teacher friend....the last paragraph nails it! [View all]
Heartstrings Jul 2020 OP
Karadeniz Jul 2020 #1
GeorgeGist Jul 2020 #2
Mr.Bill Jul 2020 #9
Dem2theMax Jul 2020 #10
certainot Jul 2020 #50
Phoenix61 Jul 2020 #3
LEW Jul 2020 #4
Laelth Jul 2020 #5
WVreaper Jul 2020 #6
Arkansas Granny Jul 2020 #7
Alliepoo Jul 2020 #8
aggiesal Jul 2020 #11
BigmanPigman Jul 2020 #18
aggiesal Jul 2020 #29
Sienna86 Jul 2020 #12
Heartstrings Jul 2020 #19
Sentath Jul 2020 #51
CRK7376 Jul 2020 #13
smirkymonkey Jul 2020 #14
NightWatcher Jul 2020 #15
Heartstrings Jul 2020 #21
BigmanPigman Jul 2020 #16
UpInArms Jul 2020 #17
calimary Jul 2020 #31
mgardener Jul 2020 #20
marlakay Jul 2020 #22
grantcart Jul 2020 #23
radical noodle Jul 2020 #24
tavernier Jul 2020 #25
Hstch05 Jul 2020 #26
Mosby Jul 2020 #27
KY_EnviroGuy Jul 2020 #28
Mosby Jul 2020 #32
PandoraAwakened Jul 2020 #34
Mosby Jul 2020 #46
PandoraAwakened Jul 2020 #54
whistler162 Jul 2020 #35
gademocrat7 Jul 2020 #30
AwakeAtLast Jul 2020 #33
Pacifist Patriot Jul 2020 #36
FakeNoose Jul 2020 #37
Heartstrings Jul 2020 #44
niyad Jul 2020 #38
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denbot Jul 2020 #40
Marthe48 Jul 2020 #41
Raastan Jul 2020 #42
EleanorR Jul 2020 #43
Dustlawyer Jul 2020 #45
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hunter Jul 2020 #48
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