An Open Letter to the Superintendents of the United States of America Concerning Reopening School at the peak of the COVID19 Pandemic
I’m going to get right into it:
First, we need to agree on some facts:
I need to know you believe the threat of injury and death from CoVid-19 is real.
I need to know if you understand and agree that an infected person can be asymptomatic and spread the virus for days before ever knowing they’re infected.
I need you to agree that the current death rate is reflecting at 3.5% of the infected population in the US.
I need you to tell me what number of students and faculty called in ill with the cold/flu last year. I need you to multiply that by ten, then take 3.5-4% of that.
I need to know if you’re prepared to have that number of people dying from a preventable disease on your watch.
That out of the way, I have comprehensive questions and statements that I don’t know if you can answer.
I need to know if you’re a gambler?
I need to know you’re not going to endanger the lives of the teachers employed in your district by asking them to come back in and be around students 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
I need to know that the teachers have the ability to opt out of participation in the school year without penalty.
I need to know you have different plans than to expose everyone in an enclosed space recycling the same air all day, every day.
I need to know you have an asymptomatic testing plan and an agreement with a lab for rapid testing in hours, not days.
I need to know you understand why I asked that last question, and the danger of reaction versus prevention.
I need to know you’ve got enforcement of masks, distanced kids, and outside classes when possible. The lives of everyone you are responsible for cannot become a statistic when distance learning is an option in 2020. You can just as easily enforce an attendance policy from a computer screen as you can a body in a chair in a building.
I need to know the ‘essential workers’ that give their all all year long aren’t going to be asked to give everything.
I need to know your medical plan takes care of *everything* if one of your teachers falls ill or dies, or worse, lives with the numerous chronic injuries as has been seen with CoVid-19. I don’t want lip service about a teacher dying ‘for the greater good,’ when a grievous illness could have been avoided by better planning or not participating all together.
I need to know you have a plan for the child whose only meal, only adult interaction happens within the walls of the school. I know the neglect that exists, and I need to know a plan of action is in place to care for those children.
I need to know my loved one is going to be OK.