Updated: Aug 19, 2021
I have just finished screaming into my pillow and I needed to write this piece to express my frustration with this country. We continue to be unable to focus on the issues that are harming our children without conflating issues and failing to do what is in their best interest. It never ceases to amaze me that the ruling class in this country will do what is in their own best interest, every time, and miss the chance to make change and help the people who really need it.
Working remotely allows me the opportunity to have the news on in the background as I do my work. At the end of a talking-head’s one-hour show on MSNBC, a gentleman from Harvard Public Health came on to make a case for kids returning to school in the fall. Let me be clear about my feelings on this issue before I tell you why this person made me scream. I believe there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the issue. This is not a cop out. I believe that kids need to be in school because we are in danger of having a huge underclass being created, a group that is educationally so disadvantaged that it will be hurt for years to come. At the same time, this can only happen if the science allows it and the teachers and other adults in the building can be protected.
Here is where I started to scream: the gentleman from Harvard stated that kids should return to school because there are 10,000 kids in Boston who did not logon and 50% of the kids in Philly did not do virtual learning at all. That sounds reasonable. However, he then stated, that he did the research and kids, while they do get sick, can be protected because hospitals have given schools the model of how to protect them: Hospitals have learned how to protect doctors and nurses by getting them to wash their hands, wear masks, and social distance when possible. Now, I am sorry if this person has either forgotten how children interact, lost his mind, or is politically motivated. This is just dangerous talk. Children, by definition, are young, impetuous, rebellious, rambunctious, and any other adjective that will illustrate the unlikelihood that they will follow guidelines of personal hygiene for 182 minutes let alone 182 days. I do not remember a gym class, chorus, assembly, or any other group gathering at a hospital. I do not believe patients take school buses to and from school every day. Do I really need to go on?
Yes, kids need help. The answer is to be sure that every student has a computer and internet service. No person on this planet can have an equal shot at the American dream on equal footing without a computer. It is not an extra: it is a necessity. Did this privileged Harvard elitist stop and think about “WHY” all of these students are not logging on? Next, create a fair economy so the parents of these struggling families can thrive and give their kids space, time, and opportunity to thrive and study. No. He cares about the economy. So, let us risk the life of kids to open up the economy? Is that for real? Can you really conflate this many issues to make it acceptable to put our kids at risk?
The final conflation that this country seems to allow is that the only bad outcome from this disease is death. There are well over 2,000,000 sick and over 122,000 dead. So, does that mean that 1,878,000 are ok? No! This virus is dangerous. It leaves people with problems that include damaged lungs and inhibited ability to live normal lives. Are you willing to risk your kids for this purpose?
I understand the horrors of being unemployed. I have been there. However, I would never risk the life of my child on a bet that she will be ok because she is young. If I am not mistaken, didn’t we say that about people in their 20s and 30s and 40s? Please wake up people. Make decisions based on science. Make decisions based on the best interest of the kids.