Leave it to ’Murica to politicize the debate over schools reopening. As a vast majority of physicians say to limit social gatherings, some parents think it’s just A-OK to send their kids back to the crowded classroom. I even know and like some of them. The problem is obvious. We are all being forced to ignore science by our elected leaders, our friends and families, and our neighbors. We’re buying into the trick because we’re bored and sick and tired of this damn lockdown. Too bad COVID-19 doesn’t take any vacations. Scientists are expecting a horrible, virus-infested winter. Gathering in groups certainly isn’t going to help.
The politicization is just more of the same ol’ same ol’. When the occupant of the highest office in the land will not disavow white supremacists — even after being kindly asked to repeatedly — people who aren’t white supremacists (“most” of us? “some” of us?) are going to be pissed, and they’re going to funnel that anger at said occupant, everything about him, everything he does or doesn’t do, everything he tweets while on the shitter. “REOPEN THE SCHOOLS” over and over invites the politicization, because over half the country hates anything that comes out of his mouth or from his thumbs, so for him to say that (again, over and over) is how the war starts. Implying that COVID is a hoax is all his followers need to clamor to reopen schools yesterday. Who needs science and data when you have Dear Leader to light the way with his bright orange face. Blind allegiance to anyone, let alone someone who doesn’t think racism is that egregious, is dangerous, and we will all be paying the price soon.
My third grader’s school has already had two confirmed cases, and the doors have been open only about a month and a half. My wife and I are glad he’s learning remotely. We know it’s not for everyone. Many children have exceptions. The key is that most school districts across the country are doing the right thing by offering remote learning. Is it easy? Hell no. My wife and I spent the first two weeks helping A. become accustomed to the situation. Now he’s cruising, doing even better perhaps than he would be doing in person — like many children, A. is what is so lovingly referred to as “emotionally disturbed.” He has high anxiety, basically. Remote learning allows him to focus on what matters most: learning. He will learn how to socialize either with his friends via Facetime or once there’s a vaccine. We’re not sending him back to school until it’s safe for not just him but for all of us, including my wife’s 75-year-old parents who visit four or five times a year. The decision wasn’t easy, but it was right. Even the CDC all but assumes that most schools will experience breakouts, and that’s a gamble that my wife and I just aren’t willing to take. That some parents are comfortable taking that risk isn’t going to usher the virus out the door any faster, either. — Anthony Mariani
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