Gentle reader, be warned that a rant is incoming.
Our crazy state declared the other day that they were going to force the schools to open for fully in-person five-days-a-week instruction starting in April. This is such a dumb idea I don't even know where to begin.
But what the heck, let's dive in. Let's start with the teachers and staff. They haven't been vaccinated yet, and they won't be eligible for vaccinations until the end of March at the earliest. So the state has decided that their safety and well-being is a non-priority. I think that's completely inexcusable.
Then of course there's the kids and families whose safety the state doesn't seem to care about either. I don't know about other school systems, but ours is barely able to handle appropriate distancing with a cohorted hybrid model with half the kids out of school at any given moment. There is no way that they would be able to cope with all the kids in the building at the same time with 6ft of distance.
They haven't even tested the vaccines on kids yet, and even if they had kids would be at the bottom of the list for vaccination priority. I get that serious illness in kids is quite rare, but they can still be carriers and put parents and other adults at risk. Plus nobody knows what happens down the road to kids who have been exposed as they grow older.
Cases are dropping, but they are still WAY higher than they were in October when reopening was not even remotely on the table. Despite that, the state is rushing to reopen schools, sports arenas, theaters, restaurants, and pretty much anything that could possibly be considered a disease vector. Meanwhile the vaccination effort has been so badly managed that it would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. (It was a miraculous stroke of luck that I was able to get an appointment, many people I know have not been so lucky.) We are making progress, and I think that if precautions and restrictions remained in place things would continue to get better - but instead of sticking with what's working, our incompetent, craven governor thinks that now is the time for opening the floodgates. I am very concerned that this will quickly erase all of the progress that we have made up until this point.
And of course all we are talking about is like 6 weeks of instruction time. We've made it most of the year just fine with the models we've had up to now. It's been a struggle, and I know that the kids haven't had the academic rigor that they would have had in a normal school year. But really how much academic rigor do they pack into kindergarten anyway? I know that not all kids are able to do as well with remote school as my kids have, and I recognize the privilege that I have to work from home and stay with my kids as they learn. Not all families have this luxury and I agree that the state should do something to take care of those families and their kids. But I don't think that cramming them into unsafely crowded classrooms is the solution.
My town is affluent and privileged. The parent community has been torn apart by this issue, with lots of loud and angry voices demanding that schools reopen fully. I think this is selfish and shortsighted.
Thankfully it seems like the remote option will remain on the table, and that is what we plan on doing. It is my fervent hope that come September we will feel comfortable being back to school in person and all of this will be behind us.