I’m not a parent so I should probably keep my mouth shut about this…but you know what? This weird insistence that children need to return to school in person affects more than just kids, teachers, and parents–it affects the entire community.
The progress we’ve made in slowing the spread of COVID-19 is entirely based on keeping people apart. Those of us who are taking the pandemic seriously have only been interacting with our closest friends and loved ones, and that at a distance. Going to school means cramming representatives of dozens or even hundreds of different families into confined, poorly ventilated spaces. We’ve all seen colds, flus, chickenpox, and herpes tear ass through classes of kids. Are we really dumb enough to think coronavirus won’t do the same thing?
And we’re talking about groups of barely supervised children and adolescents here. Teachers can’t be everywhere. Think of all the shit you were able to get away with when you were in school. For every Andrea A-Plus who’s got her shit together and wouldn’t dare jeopardize her rocket ride straight to Harvard, there’s a dozen Lick-Everything Larrys, fifteen Pass-Me-a-Pall-Mall Patties, two Teddy Terd-Smears, and a Finger-in-Your-Fries Freddy who are going to fuck it all up. Don’t even get me started on all the supposedly responsible adults you just know are going to send their sick kids to school because “errrrrrrrrrr she’s faking!” or “I need him to leave so I can bang the maid reeeeeeeee!”
So the kids who go to school will catch the virus, give it to their families, and then their families will spread it to others in the community. Fan-fucking-tastic. How this plays out is so god damn obvious that it’s no wonder all the dipshit conservatives are dead set on following through with it. Don’t believe me? Notre Dame’s already reported 29 cases in its first week since reopening campus, even though all students were tested prior to being allowed onsite and are required to fill out a health questionnaire every day. Baseball teams, professional wrestling companies, factories, and meat packing plants have all had their own outbreaks. But yeah, sure, let’s shove a bunch of immature germ factories into a poorly ventilated building with super tight traffic flows so some of them can learn their times tables and the rest of them can prepare for long, rewarding careers posting to 4chan from their parents’ basements. Won-fucking-derful.
But I’m not unsympathetic. There are kids out there who absolutely need extra attention, and school should be open for them. There are parents that can’t work from home, and school should be open for those kids too – at least for the younger ones who can’t be left alone. And it should be made real damn clear that the school building is a safe space any kid can come to when there’s an issue. If schools aren’t dumbly running at full capacity, they’ll be better able to serve the children who need them most.
And don’t get me started on colleges and universities. There is absolutely no reason those places need to pack a bunch of poorly supervised adolescent dumbasses into our cities and towns right now. Are we really doing sorority shit in this crap? They can learn remotely. Fuck, they’re probably going to have to know how to work remotely after graduation anyway if they can find any jobs at all, so think of it as giving them a head start. And yes, tuition should be reduced.
I understand entirely why all the shitty old white dudes want to ignore the danger and force things back to normal, but I will never get why a generation of children who are supposedly more in touch with the world than ever are letting themselves be dragged into this stupidity.
This pandemic is not a normal situation. Attempting to force a business-as-usual approach is foolish and short-sighted. Anyone in a position of power who’s insisting on in-person learning this fall has no business being responsible for tying their own god damn shoes, never mind making decisions that impact the communities they’re supposed to be serving.