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[dupe] Entire school board resigns after accidental public livestream (bbc.com)
73 points by hliyan 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 99 comments





Discussed two days ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26208931 (54 points/86 comments)


I can't stand that schools don't like to acknowledge their role as childcare (i.e. babysitting) in addition to education. People set up their entire lives around the fact that their kids will be watched at school most days. Unless you are fairly wealthy, hiring private babysitters is extremely expensive and out of reach for most families.

Yes, the education aspect is more 'prestigious'. But getting kids out of the house so parents can work and into a social environment where they see other kids is extremely important for most families and society as a whole. The attitude of a school board member implying babysitting isn't their job must be coming from someone who either doesn't currently have young kids or comes from a wealthy enough background that they can't even fathom why this would be an issue for others.


It's concerning that this conflation of teaching and childcare is being normalized now. It leads to unnecessarily long school hours in the US. The school is set up as the only source of social interaction, that absolves parents from setting up any other sort of familial and social interactions for their kids.

> But getting kids out of the house so parents can work and into a social environment where they see other kids is extremely important for most families and society as a whole.

Yes, and that can be accomplished in a variety of ways, of which schools are one way (probably the riskiest way, in the current pandemic). Take your kids to the playground in the evening. Set up social playdates with other families. Let your kid sleep over at the neighbor's house. Let them visit their cousins and grandparents. Let them walk to school with other kids. Give a firm "no" to your boss for that 4pm meeting!

From what I have seen, most American kids seem to have no friends near where they live, and most American families have too many helicopter parents to let these normal channels of social interaction to work as intended. So they prefer that teachers serve as the helicopter for the majority of their workday instead.

Normalization of the workday to adjust to the fact that most families have working parents is what's needed, not saddling teachers with absorbing that extra load of childcare in addition to teaching.


> Give a firm "no" to your boss for that 4pm meeting!

I can do that because I work remotely for a software company. How's someone who's working the drive-through going to do that? How's the manager of a Walmart going to do that? A pharmacist, a bank teller, a delivery driver?

Taking your kids to the playground in the evening does not address the fact that most people have to work during the day.


For places like fast food and Walmart, 'availability' is one of the things you get asked.

What sucks is that if you don't have enough, you might not get hired or not get hours.

But that's yet another issue with our society.


> I can do that because I work remotely for a software company. How's someone who's working the drive-through going to do that? How's the manager of a Walmart going to do that? A pharmacist, a bank teller, a delivery driver?

No solution can serve 100% of the people 100% of the time. I would say that American society is already unbalanced enough in this regard that most people who can tell their bosses no for a 4pm meeting (e.g. the administrator participating in a meeting for some committee) are not doing so.

For example, in your example, a bank teller would tell their boss, who would arrange for a replacement. Maybe the bank would have to hire a few more workers, but normalizing this would help a lot. What happens now is that people get punished for it, implicitly as well as explicitly in a fashion that seems to be a holdover from the days of the 1950s. Addressing this as a society rather than shifting that responsibility on to teachers would, in my opinion, be more equitable and sustainable.

> Taking your kids to the playground in the evening does not address the fact that most people have to work during the day.

Yes, the cherry-picked suggestion that you mentioned does not. How ever, the other suggestion that I had in the same paragraph of having them stay with their grandparents or cousins would address this problem. Treating “normal social interactions“ and “watching over kids when their parents are not around“ is exactly what I am recommending against.


Wouldn't it be better to normalise it further? Parents need a reliable method of childcare that they can plan around.

Why not say that schools are a mix between learning and childcare, learning finishes at X and then there is activities/playground time after that.

> Give a firm "no" to your boss for that 4pm meeting!

Great for those that can. What about families that require physical presence or abnormal hours?

> most American kids seem to have no friends near where they live

As a Brit in London, I don't live near many of my friends. We often meet up in central London as its convenient. When I was a kid, many of my friends didn't live near me because school was a few villages away and I liked people from other villages. Kids don't choose their friends based on location.

To me, it seems inefficient for every parent to sort their own childcare when you could centralise it into an institution dedicated to children?


> To me, it seems inefficient for every parent to sort their own childcare when you could centralise it into an institution dedicated to children?

Great! In America, some schools do provide these sorts of programs, called "after-care" for people who cannot take charge of their children after school time. They are typically not handled by teachers, and you have to pay extra for them. There are solutions like kibbutz, which other countries have implemented, that would be a good fit as well.

In practice, I have observed that enough parents do seem to be able to handle their childcare (where I live) that it's not a free program that's paid for by society through increased taxes. But that's a possible option as well.


This is an odd conclusion considering that US school days are shorter than many other countries and that the US has fewer school days than many other countries.

Where are you getting your information about what life is like for American families?

Also small children require way more constant attention than you seem to admit.


Optimal child health requires this happen on a daily basis. Schools facilitate 5/7ths of this. Do you have the time and energy to pick up the slack?

When I was young, I played outside with other kids, adventure to other neighborhoods. Pretty much about the most dangerous things are the traffic when we cross over.

The adults don't need to set up playdates, but they do need to think about traffic and general safety.


>they do need to think about traffic and general safety

...and wearing a mask, social distancing and germ theory.


The problem is the attitude towards education that often comes with that. They aren't sending their kids to learn, but are rather just getting them off their own hands.

Anecdotally, from when I was in school, the parents who first and foremost treated school as daycare and expressed such sentiments also didn't really care whether their kids learned all that much or behaved well.


This does cause problems, but maybe if schools acknowledged that they were childcare they would be better equipped to deal with some of those problems? Or even the structure of schools might change to better accommodate this requirement.

Now whether or not schools should be primarily childcare is an entirely separate debate.


Exactly.

If schools explicitly acknowledged their dual purpose, then they could more cleanly separate the two functions. I think doing so would even improve the educational component.

I've volunteered in high school classrooms quite a lot. The amount of wasted time is astounding. Hours upon hours of boring nonsense that somehow actively detracts from learning. Students are so bored from sitting around all day. Also, they instinctively learn that 80% of every lecture period is filler nonsense but are quite bad at guessing which 20% they should be paying attention to.

Even in subjects that shouldn't be cut (e.g., Geometry) the lecture periods could be safely halved and probably improve educational outcomes.

Schools are great facilities for child care, BTW. Computers, gyms, fields, sports equipment, books, ...

Why not just admit that about half of the classroom time alotted to most subjects exists for fill-up-butt-in-seat-time purposes only and then openly embrace the fact that the school is an educational institution whose physical plant is also useful for leisure/childcare? Heck, university campuses already do this...


They are sending them because they are legally required to do so. There is nothing optional about it for most people. Parents have their jobs planned around their kids being at school -- again, because it is a legal requirement that the kids be there. Suddenly withdrawing that -- going on indefinitely now -- is causing all sorts of strain, especially in households where the parents can't work from home.

The terms "teacher" and "babysitter" denote QUALITY of care. Both roles perform similar functions (at a high level), but a "teacher" adds more value.

By calling themselves "babysitters" they are expressing they are being insulted by the parents. They are trying to convey that they deserve more respect than what they are receiving.


I think the primary concern with this school board, (probably many school boards), is that the expectation is based on how well they perform the babysitting function. Whereas the metric is based on how well they perform the teaching function.

There are likely a large number of school board members, teachers, and even parents who complain because they want more emphasis on the teaching and less on the babysitting. I can imagine a lot of tension in the future around this fundamental contention.


You mean we decided to put them into an extremely artificial environment which they can't leave without getting into trouble, in which the primary skill of focus are academics at the expense of everything else.

Then, when they graduate from school, we expect them to swim and thrive in an environment that they have very little experience in, and that which a lot of people somehow muddle through life without certain vital skills like cooking.

OK. School functions as 'daycare' center. Sure. Because our society is structured such that parents are forced to work two jobs.


I really can't agree that the primary focus of school is academics over everything. Primary focus of elementary school is learning to socialize. Primary focus of high school is learning to manage responsibilities. Even college the primary focus is networking. People complain about not learning how to cook or do taxes in school all the time, but they must not have paid attention, because school provides all the skills that are needed to perfect those relatively easy tasks.

They do? That's news to me.

Should've paid more attention I guess. Taxes is literally just reading instructions and adding some numbers plus multiplying them. Cooking is just reading instructions. Following instructions is exactly what you learn to do in school.

I don't see how high school does anything for learning responsibility. You go to school, do work, get grade. Same thing we did in middle school and in elementary school.

Except more bullshit and people giving you way too much homework.


I think if we (including schools) acknowledge schools role, also, as childcare, then we are doomed.

Education and keeping a child busy are very very different things and should be different. Else the quality of education, which is already not held as high as it used to be, will erode further.

IMHO.


It may also be a legacy issue. This - i imagine - hasn't always been the case. If a two parent household only had a single parent working this idea would be quite sound, imo. That ideally shouldn't be the schools responsibility here. I want them to focus on what really matters, education.

However these days it's often necessary for both parents to work, and thus no one is available to watch the kids (and i'm glossing over single parents for simplicity).


Teachers are not babysitters, just like they're also not parents, even though all of these roles involve some level of overlap. There's a reason we have different words, and it's to express different roles in this case. The teacher's job is to teach, hence the name. Babysitting is not their primary function, it just comes as a secondary effect of having the children around all day and needing to provide a safe and focused space for learning.

> Yes, the education aspect is more 'prestigious'.

If education was prestigious, we'd pay teachers more than $30k per year.


More prestigious than childcare, which pays less than that.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm


I wouldn't be so quick to condemn the value of people we underpay. We routinely underpay people who do work that's critical to the function of our society.

In the case of teachers, we take advantage of their passion for helping children, even to their own detriment (i.e. buying their own school supplies).


It varies tremendously by school district. In Texas the average starting salary for teachers is $55k and goes up with experience.

Exactly. Teachers start their careers in poor underfunded districts and retire from rich over-funded districts.

Everything is relative

Don't forget the energy delta factor. Your home may be a gilded cage, but it's still a cage. Much like many other pack animals, kids are social creatures that need to burn through a significant amount of calories every day for optimal health and well-being.

I think schools understand this perfectly well but it's the parents who don't want to hear it. Hence the (somewhat forced) resignation.

I was surprised during the pandemic by the level of people complaining they couldn't bear to be around their own kids all day.

Venting is healthy, the clip of the woman talking about being picked on seems pretty benign - honestly I'm sure many of the outraged parents have said and done worse things. I understand the optics are bad but maybe they shouldn't be, especially because there's likely some degree of truth in what was said.

Given that the specific role of a school board (as opposed to principal, teachers, etc.) is to represent the community, the attitude displayed by the comments does not suggest that they are representative of that community. So, especially for the specific role of school board members, it's more than just bad optics.

Venting is not healthy - it's ineffective at best and can increase anger rather than dissipating it:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/014616720228900... https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2007-19803-003


Optics matter much more when you're elected

Personally, as a parent, taxpayer and U.S. citizen, I'm appalled by this.

Reality is that we pay taxes for children to go to school to get an education. I personally think we need school choice for the very reasons presented by this school board.

Maybe, I want my kid to only spend 3 hours a day in a classroom with kids and I'll teach them the rest -- can't do that in the U.S.

Maybe, I need my children to be in a safe environment while I work a dead-end job to make enough money to pay for their food.

The truth is, we pay taxes and the state, in effect, assists in raising the children. In 2020 they stopped doing that. Zoom does not help raise a 6-8 year old, who are they kidding. Continuing this going forward when the current research we have shows minimal risk from having students go to school is insane.

This school board should resign and everyone in the district should lobby for allowing school choice. This would help dismantle the power these school boards have and improve education quality.


> The truth is, we pay taxes and the state, in effect, assists in raising the children. In 2020 they stopped doing that.

In 2020 there was a pandemic that shut down many things other than schools. That pandemic is, unfortunately, still ongoing.

This is tantamount to saying "I pay taxes, so the road I go to work on should always be open regardless of construction activity". But in reality, roads are often closed for construction activity or if there is a natural disaster, or for a host of other reasons that make them unsafe.

> This school board should resign and everyone in the district should lobby for allowing school choice. This would help dismantle the power these school boards have and improve education quality.

"The transport board should resign because I cannot go to work on I-123 due to an avalanche warning". That's an extremely simplistic view of a complex public health disaster that's currently affecting us.


> Maybe, I want my kid to only spend 3 hours a day in a classroom with kids and I'll teach them the rest -- can't do that in the U.S.

There's a reason the "U.S." doesn't allow that - education is left to the states by the US constitution. That said, there are many states where you can do what you propose - not all of them, and some make it easier than others, but it's not against federal law to do so.


> Continuing this going forward when the current research we have shows minimal risk from having students go to school is insane.

Minimal risk to child students, but risky to parents and very risky for grandma and grandpa if they live with the children too. I'm blessed that I can work from home, and realize not everyone can, so remote learning has not been that much of a bummer. That said, I am not sending my child back to in-person school unless 1. everyone in my household is vaccinated or 2. the government forces me.


I wonder if we could all just hear each other's thoughts if anyone would be able to serve in any public type role.

In the meantime many parents I'm sure are in the terrible situation of keeping their kids home to keep them safe vs... going to work.


> I wonder if we could all just hear each other's thoughts if anyone would be able to serve in any public type role.

Seems to mostly work out ok on Twitter...


Reading twitter makes me sad so I generally just don't.

Keeping kids home doesn't keep them safe. Except for those who already have severe medical conditions, school age children face virtually zero risk from COVID-19.

I should probably expand that to 'keeping society safe'. Even if the kids aren't at risk spreading it puts others at risk.

Venting or not, many parents are taking the rein of local school and its education because they don’t like where it is going. - Often times, it’s bloated salaries at upper-level, textbook selection, insufficient recess duration/breaks and ... bad teachers.

— Most vocal are the ones with special-need child and often the most neglected category of students with frequent non-compliance to Federal and state laws on special education.


Special needs parent here. It's basically impossible to send your kids to a public school district without advocating for them constantly and understanding the special education laws. The kids with the most involved parents get the best services because they have the best advocates.

IMO it seems like faux outrage. People vent, this is fine. The babysitting comment was actually 100% on-point. I don't blame the school board members, I blame the parents. I say that as a parent myself of two elementary age children, because my wife volunteered for PTA and I got a window into the lives of the teachers and principal and what they face every day from parents. The truth is, many people are really shitty to teachers, and treat them like crap. Maybe it's politics, I don't know, but the things I saw were eye-opening. I think in many cases the children are more mature.

Wouldn't it be great if parents could select what schools their kids go to and teachers could select what students/parents they want to teach. Provide some choice and allow people to choose what meets their needs.

I assume you're not living in the USA, because private primary/secondary schools exist in the USA. They're actually quite common here and provide a lot of diversity in terms of style/rigor/selectivity/etc. In NYC alone there are almost 1,000 private schools. People do have plenty of choice, as long as they're able to pay.

(I doubt redirecting tax dollars would increase choice. Plus, we already have a hybrid public/private marketplace for education in our university system. That experiment is... not going too well, to the least.)


People have choice now. What you are implying is that they should get to choose, and have it paid for by tax dollars.

Isn't this sort of talk standard fair at school board and PTA meetings? At my locals, people talk and argue about crazy all the time. Parents shake their heads at one point or another then move on to the next topic. Nobody really runs to snitch on social media.

With the spate of suicides, LA is learning the hard way that school is an important part of emotional development.

Where are you getting suicide statistics for LA from please?

I'm sure LA specific stats exist, but googling "school age suicide covid" nets hundreds of links to peruse...

A glimpse into what (probably) goes on in most school board meetings.

I'm prepared to give most board meetings the benefit of the doubt and assume they discuss actual educational things.

School boards don’t generally have a good reputation. Rust they are not focused on good education is a consistent component of that. Attending a few of yours could he enlightening if your city size is enough that the board members don’t have many personal relations with the parents and students.

This drives me insane. Somehow the grocery store worker and delivery driver are essential, but a teacher is not? As if educating children is not one of the most important tasks on the planet. I’m sorry but a 7 year old is not focusing on Zoom for 6 hours nor getting socialization.

The evidence says opening schools is safe. Why the teachers unions have prevented reopening schools en masse is criminal. This audio is damning and shows the attitude towards parents.


Saying “the evidence” without supplying any evidence isn’t going to further your point

How though? Isn't onus on the ones making the original claim. Original claim was, "schools need to be shut down because they will increase covid spread"

Person making the claim needs to comeup with "the evidence" not the other way around.


Anyone with children will tell you that school is a major disease vector. It's common sense and basic medical knowledge. Putting a bunch of people together spreads disease, especially when they're a bunch of children with dubious hygiene habits.

> It's common sense

So when should schools be opened according to this?


When children can get vaccinated.

and presumably teachers and staff too.

Hope this administration follows common sense.


I agree, everyone should get vaccinated before they get into large groups.

EDIT: would love to know why anyone would downvote this. Seems uncontroversial to people who aren't anti-vax.


The burden to speak persuasively is born from the passion to persuade.


Dad of a 6 yo here!

She isn't focusing on zoom for 15 minutes. She can barely use the track pad to unmate herself.


My issue is that we shouldn't expect a 7 year old to focus constantly for 6 hours on anything.

Most adults can't do that

Slack won't let me.

Slack is the job you should focus on.

There are some kids who can, but the ones who can't are the ones who ruin it for all the others.

Maybe it's the other way around.

I don't think "The kids who do not want to be at school ruin it for the kids who do want to be at school" is an unreasonable take.

People who don't want to be at things ruin those things for people who do want to be there in every cross section of society.


I work in education.

These passive aggressive kids who try to dismantle the class need to be removed from good students. People online demand that teachers be like part superhero, part hilarious talk show host they don’t realize how exhausting it is to hold back 20-30 kids day after day for that one kid or group who hate going to school and only want to ruin the day for everyone else.

We can all admit that there are some toxic people at the office yet to suggest as much with children is heavily frowned upon. I now have a live and let live approach to these specific kids. They can waste time, zone out, even chat with their buddies but as soon as they cross the line into bothering someone else then I must intervene.

It’s really difficult to make everyone happy. It’s so wild to me how some kids will love me while others will view me as like some kind of antagonist in a Charles Dickens story no matter how much I try to win them over. They just don’t want to be there.


But maybe the fact that some kids can pay attention for 6 hours has made us as a society expect that kids should be able to pay attention for 6 hours and that the ones who can't are somehow deficient. Perhaps this is to everyone's detriment and the optimal solution for education for everyone is not the classroom model.

I think your stance is completely faulty. Children aren't sent to 6-8 hours of school a day because it was discovered that some subset of them liked it and we decided to just implement it across the board.

We decided as a society that not only is education valuable for people, it's a human right. So we, as a society, have failed if we fail to provide an education for our children.

Many children don't like going to school. Some subset of children wind up acting out in a ton of different ways, but often it is disruptive to classes and wastes a ton of time. Their actions have a direct negative impact on the children who actually want to attend classes and learn. But education is the right of everyone, even children who actively resist school, so we don't remove them.

I get the point you're trying to make, that maybe our children would benefit more from just being allowed to be children, to be rowdy and play with friends, have freedom and activity instead of hours of lessons per day sitting in a chair. I get that. I even agree with it to a point.

But it's extremely asinine to suggest that somehow this is the fault of the well behaved kids or the kids who genuinely love school.


I'm not saying it's their fault, I'm saying that their ability to participate fully may have led educators to think that their peers who cannot do so are deficient, rather than that the education process itself could be improved so everyone can fully participate in it.

We'll have to confront the nature of our education system pretty soon anyway since automation will probably destabilize the way society parcels out work and keeps people busy

Some kids are diligent and eager to learn, but that doesn't mean keeping them on often absurd tasks or tasks with few applications in the real world is meaningful. Spending a decade optimizing for specific exams for specific institutions whose degrees are undergoing inflation at a rapid pace doesn't seem very efficient, but at least it's a compromise between various actors with various needs (parents needing a break, a lack of resources for each child, companies needing a quick if imperfect way to evaluate candidates, young people wanting an environment with people their own age etc.) Unfortunately, this compromise is being torn asunder by systemic forces that keep parts of it in place and make other parts increasingly unworkable.

I don't have a solution in mind right now but I don't think it's as simple as just dumber kids ruining it, although it obviously is a factor in what makes schools unpleasant


This is a really thoughtful examination of the problems with contemporary public schooling, thank you for posting it.

I do want to add that it's not necessary "dumb" kids who are ruining it. Just kids who don't want to be there, either because they don't want to participate or because they are bored, or because they aren't capable of sitting quietly for hours and hours, or they'd rather do something else, or whatever.


Younger me would have paradoxically been in both the diligent and alienated category. The older I get, the more I realize that the openly rambunctious kids I went to school with probably had the right idea all along. They were experiencing an intuitive and deeply human reaction to what is essentially a wasteful cargo-culting process where grades and other such surrogate activities are mistaken for actions that directly contribute to life. It's a classic case of confusing ease of control and predictability for actual value. To some extent there is real value in the work, in that its get your foot through the door which in turns gets your foot in a series of potentially more pleasant doors down the the line. But the process is so utterly inefficient in terms of the effort and opportunity cost expended compared to what a job actually requires in the real world.

I hope I'm not coming across as bitter, because I am in fact quite optimistic. We have the technological means to spread education far more easily. Bright students are faced with a more competitive world but also have the tools to make progress on just about anything. With ML, it might even be possible to offer personalized courses and the attention that every individual kid or young adult might need.


As if educating children is not one of the most important tasks on the planet.

Of course educating children is important but the current method of doing so is not the only possible one, and arguably prioritises the lifestyle of so-called teachers over that of children, parents, and taxpayers in general.

What if the lesson of COVID is that MOOCs are actually better? Or homeschooling is actually better? Why should we go on paying teachers who, despite their bleating, are actually very well compensated for what they do (when they bother to show up).


School might not be 100% Covid safe, but the alternative of kids reducing their parents output and losing out on social and educational skills is worse that Covid. It's the same ethics struggle I see over and over again with Covid. Deontological: It is a little more dangerous, just shut it down. Consequential: We need to worry about the big picture and the treatment is worse than if we did nothing.

> is worse that Covid

Statements like these are always interesting to me. Covid has killed half a million Americans in under a year. During that year, many parents are operating at reduced productivity, and their children are likely getting less out of their public education than usual. How do you compare these two statements to clarify that one is worse than the other? Obviously a known death toll is an easily identifiable bad thing. The other half of the equation is harder to quantify.

Some benefits include children being exposed to new forms of large group virtual communication. They are likely not well-adapted to them at this point - maturity and focus and motivation are all likely lacking, especially for rushed, poorly designed virtual systems. Then again, perhaps there will be a rubber band effect of refreshed engagement as children return to physical education in the year ahead.


There does seem to be evidence that in-person schooling is not a substantial contributor to community transmission[0]. This link is just the first one for Google search results for query "evidence on opening schools."

That being said, I don't think you're expressing yourself well, or communicating with others well. What we saw in 2020 was a lot of lightly tested theories about what would and would not work, some being encouraged only to later be found to be incorrect. And the 2020 winter has been a complete flood of community transmission. So one approach might be to take a list of available actions to reduce transmission where possible, and hopefully cumulatively make a big difference, even if each action contributes a small amount.

We also know that educators are among Phase 1b for vaccine qualification, so we should be able to imagine that having a largely vaccinated population of teachers should improve both safety of opening schools physically, as well as the optics of doing so without putting our teachers at risk.

[0] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2775875


[flagged]


The irony here is that GOP-led states tend to be the ones where schools are open, and in blue states (like California) they're more likely to be closed.

There's also no evidence of schools that are open (nationally it's about 70% of them that are open to some extent or another) being large vectors for spreading COVID, so clearly precautions are being taken.


I am in the bluest of blue states. Our schools are closed. Why would schools be closed here for whats going on in alaska. I Don't understand logic behind your comment.

Alaska has pretty good results right now: https://www.rosshartshorn.net/stuffrossthinksabout/covid_stu... Of course, Alaska also leads among all states in the percentage of its population vaccinated, but it's still much less than half so if their policies regarding covid-19 were egregiously bad, I think we would see it in their results by now.

Sorry I wasn't implying Alaska is doing poorly. Its just the first "GOP lead state" that came to mind. Its great that they are doing good.

I was trying to make a point that how what is going in "GOP lead states" is relevant to my school.


Numbers are going down because people aren’t clustering.

Until vaccination rates hit a tipping point, putting people back together now will create a spike.

I do not really get the concern? So it takes longer for Timmy or Alice to get to multiplication?


Hey, now. I'm in Texas. Our schools are open, and we are taking precautions.

Given the number of contact tracing event's I've had since my kids school opened (with only about 30-50% in person attendance), I strongly disagree with 'safe'.

I've had to quarantine my oldest since his younger brother is at risk (asthma), and the toll it took on him was insane. We talked with him constantly over voice and video calls, he interacted with his brother over Amazon Echo's drop-in feature and online games, and we tried to do everything we could to make it as 'fun' as we could. He still has nightmares about being locked away from his brother, or that he got his brother really sick.

Why are we pushing for widely opening schools when even half-occupancy is dangerous enough to cause this kind of trauma to a child?

I'm sure I'm gonna get asked why they're in person, but the reasons venture to more personal than I care to post, but in short, they're both in Spec. Ed and weren't coping with virtual learning at all, even after many months of trying to figure it out. Combine that with two working parents and you have a recipe for virtual schooling (or zoom school as my kids call it).

I say we shouldn't open schools until we can vaccinate school staff. Preferably also students, but I realize that since most kids are in low-risk groups that's likely far off. Perhaps for high-risk students with compromised respiratory systems.


I think children such as yours should be the exception to the rule for open, in-person schooling right now. Your story, while tragic, perfectly makes the point that most families don't deal with the issues that you're facing, yet many don't have the option to send their depressed, underperforming, and stir-crazy kids to school.



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