The plans, such as they are, for a return to school are getting plenty of attention right now. As usual, it is difficult to separate the Trump administration’s insistence on returning to “normal” from this head-long tumble into a situation that has “disaster” written all over it.
What are the motivations here? Is it truly about the kids who will benefit from being back in the classroom and not stuck at home? Or is it more about appearances and economics and the optics in the run-up to the election, like most everything else in Trumpland? Is there some expectation that this is a sacrifice teachers and other staff just have to make- putting themselves at risk of infection? Or is it yet another mandate and act of desperation from an administration that couldn’t care less about other peoples’ sacrifices?
What are the motivations?
There is no doubt about the difficulty of finding a solution to this. The infuriating reality is that we could be having less fretful conversations at this point if EVERYTHING had been handled differently from the start, if people had masks to wear, sucked it up and just wore them and kept their distance. If everyone, or most everyone, had taken this seriously from the get-go, we could probably be talking about opening our schools safely.
As it is, it’s a herding of cats. A crap shoot. There again is no plan that is going to work in every (any?) situation, there are no guarantees of safety. There are a million moving parts and variables. There are some teachers retiring instead of having to go back to a dangerous environment. There are many others who are having trouble viewing this as a duty, as a hill worth potentially dying on. And most are at least yearning for money for cleaning supplies and PPE, and assurance that there is a workable way through this.
A failure to communicate, disastrous wishful thinking, willful ignorance, a nation in disarray, a pathetic, appalling disregard for the warnings from scientists along the way– it’s all coming home to roost now, and it’s rendering a wise decision about our schools next to impossible. Futility looms, and this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
And let’s not forget about the virus itself. Sooner or later, it may get the respect it deserves.