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Parents, will you send your kids back to school in the fall?

Slick1

Ideal_Rock
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Well. Looks like my county thinks kids are safe in school with no masks or social distancing!
Oh no @nala ! I am not usually a worrier but I wonder how I will even be able to do my job well if I can’t/won’t get close to my students. Scary times indeed.
 

kipari

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I'm not the US, so sharing my perspective from a different situation in France (strict lockdown for 8 weeks, numbers declined, country opening up progressively and with strict rules!) :

We had to send kids back to school for two weeks before summer holidays. I kept them at home as long as legally possible (Ds was the last child in his class to return).
I stand by my judgement that epidemiologically this doesn't make sense at all. But socially it does.


Just for info for those who were wondering about the details of all the safety measures:


Social distancing and hygiene including masks were absolutely doable (I have kids age 6,8,10,13 at school, 3 y/o +1 y/O weren't obliged to go, so didn't) .


Schools followed this method:

- forehead thermometer check upon entry

- Masks mandatory for entering the premises
-Children got a designated table each.
.
- Children sit down at their table, more than 6 feet apart from each other. Then can take off masks. Teacher takes off mask at their desk (they can chose to have a plexiglass shield installed).
- They have hand gel on each table.
-They put on masks whenever they move or the teacher moves through classroom.
- no sharing of any objects
-teacher masked and sanitizes hands if has to help individual children

-Supervised hand washing every hour.

-Supervised outdoor recess with socially distant games (ball /ropes etc to make sure the distances are kept).



I was very weary and frankly mad that they made me send my kids. On the other hand the teachers and principal explained in a private convo that cases of neglect and DV went through the roof nationwide and government basically wanted to see ALL THE CHILDREN before the summer holidays to check on them and send help where needed.

Apparently social stigma and fear was so high that many in need did not send their kids in spite of offers all through the lock down.

Numbers have not spiked, there haven't been any outbreak clusters related to schools.

In our specific case I support the decision that the physical and mental well being of the most vulnerable children outweighed the risk in France.

If you're a children and your home is not a safe place, the risk is much higher there than from even a Covid infection, sadly.

It's impossible to single out any areas or families, so for the greater good everyone had to go.

I can say that I wouldn't have sent my children yet, but the safety measures were much more effective than I thought.

I get that the overall situation is not the same in US. Numbers still rising atm in many places. But safety measures, if strict enough, do work.
 

Gussie

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Some things don't change.

On the same day our school district announced that school will be online only until it is safer to open, they released the HS football schedules. Games start on August 27. You can't make this sh** up.
 

LLJsmom

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Some things don't change.

On the same day our school district announced that school will be online only until it is safer to open, they released the HS football schedules. Games start on August 27. You can't make this sh** up.
Extremely frustrating...
 

LLJsmom

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Posting the FB post here for those who don't have a FB account:

Joe Morice
22 hrs
·
Shared with Public



To our fellow FCPS families, this is it gang, 5 days until the 2 days in school vs. 100% virtual decision. Let’s talk it out, in my traditional mammoth TL/DR form.

Like all of you, I’ve seen my feed become a flood of anxiety and faux expertise. You’ll get no presumption of expertise here. This is how I am looking at and considering this issue and the positions people have taken in my feed and in the hundred or so FCPS discussion groups that have popped up. The lead comments in quotes are taken directly from my feed and those boards. Sometimes I try to rationalize them. Sometimes I’m just punching back at the void.

Full disclosure, we initially chose the 2 days option and are now having serious reservations. As I consider the positions and arguments I see in my feed, these are where my mind goes. Of note, when I started working on this piece at 12:19 PM today the COVID death tally in the United States stood at 133,420.

“My kids want to go back to school.”

I challenge that position. I believe what the kids desire is more abstract. I believe what they want is a return to normalcy. They want their idea of yesterday. And yesterday isn’t on the menu.

“I want my child in school so they can socialize.”

This was the principle reason for our 2 days decision. As I think more on it though, what do we think ‘social’ will look like? There aren’t going to be any lunch table groups, any lockers, any recess games, any study halls, any sitting next to friends, any talking to people in the hallway, any dances. All of that is off the menu. So, when we say that we want the kids to benefit from the social experience, what are we deluding ourselves into thinking in-building socialization will actually look like in the Fall?

“My kid is going to be left behind.”

Left behind who? The entire country is grappling with the same issue, leaving all children in the same quagmire. Who exactly would they be behind? I believe the rhetorical answer to that is “They’ll be behind where they should be,” to which I’ll counter that “where they should be” is a fictional goal post that we as a society have taken as gospel because it maps to standardized tests which are used to grade schools and counties as they chase funding.

“Classrooms are safe.”

At the current distancing guidelines from FCPS middle and high schools would have no more than 12 people (teachers + students) in a classroom (I acknowledge this number may change as FCPS considers the Commonwealth’s 3 ft with a mask vs. 6 ft position, noting that FCPS is all mask regardless of the distance). For the purpose of this discussion we’ll say classes run 45 minutes.

I posed the following question to 40 people today, representing professional and management roles in corporations, government agencies, and military commands: “Would your company or command have a 12 person, 45 minute meeting in a conference room?”

100% of them said no, they would not. These are some of their answers:

“No. Until further notice we are on Zoom.”
“(Our company) doesn’t allow us in (company space).”
“Oh hell no.”
“No absolutely not.”
“Is there a percentage lower than zero?”
“Something of that size would be virtual.”

We do not even consider putting our office employees into the same situation we are contemplating putting our children into. And let’s drive this point home: there are instances here when commanding officers will not put soldiers, ACTUAL SOLDIERS, into the kind of indoor environment we’re contemplating for our children. For me this is as close to a ‘kill shot’ argument as there is in this entire debate. How do we work from home because buildings with recycled air are not safe, because we don’t trust other people to not spread the virus, and then with the same breath send our children into buildings?

“Children only die .0016 of the time.”

First, conceding we’re an increasingly morally bankrupt society, but when did we start talking about children’s lives, or anyone’s lives, like this? This how the villain in movies talks about mortality, usually 10-15 minutes before the good guy kills him.

If you’re in this camp, and I acknowledge that many, many people are, I’m asking you to consider that number from a slightly different angle.

FCPS has 189,000 children. .0016 of that is 302. 302 dead children are the Calvary Hill you’re erecting your argument on. So, let’s agree to do this: stop presenting this as a data point. If this is your argument, I challenge you to have courage equal to your conviction. Go ahead, plant a flag on the internet and say, “Only 302 children will die.” No one will. That’s the kind action on social media that gets you fired from your job. And I trust our social media enclave isn’t so careless and irresponsible with life that it would even, for even a millisecond, enter any of your minds to make such an argument.

Considered another way: You’re presented with a bag with 189,000 $1 bills. You’re told that in the bag are 302 random bills, they look and feel just like all the others, but each one of those bills will kill you. Do you take the money out of the bag?

Same argument, applied to the 12,487 teachers in FCPS (per Wikipedia), using the ‘children’s multiplier’ of .0016 (all of us understanding the adult mortality rate is higher). That’s 20 teachers. That’s the number you’re talking about. It’s very easy to sit behind a keyboard and diminish and dismiss the risk you’re advocating other people assume. Take a breath and think about that.

If you want to advocate for 2 days a week, look, I’m looking for someone to convince me. But please, for the love of God, drop things like this from your argument. Because the people I know who’ve said things like this, I know they’re better people than this. They’re good people under incredible stress who let things slip out as their frustration boils over. So, please do the right thing and move on from this, because one potential outcome is that one day, you’re going to have to stand in front of St. Peter and answer for this, and that’s not going to be conversation you enjoy.

“Hardly any kids get COVID.”

(Deep sigh) Yes, that is statistically true as of this writing. But it is a cherry-picked argument because you’re leaving out an important piece.

One can reasonably argue that, due to the school closures in March, children have had the least EXPOSURE to COVID. In other words, closing schools was the one pandemic mitigation action we took that worked. There can be no discussion of the rate of diagnosis within children without also acknowledging they were among our fastest and most quarantined people. Put another way, you cannot cite the effect without acknowledging the cause.

“The flu kills more people every year.”

(Deep sigh). First of all, no, it doesn’t. Per the CDC, United States flu deaths average 20,000 annually. COVID, when I start writing here today, has killed 133,420 in six months.

And when you mention the flu, do you mean the disease that, if you’re suspected of having it, everyone, literally everyone in the country tells you stay the f- away from other people? You mean the one where parents are pretty sure their kids have it but send them to school anyway because they have a meeting that day, the one that every year causes massive f-ing outbreaks in schools because schools are petri dishes and it causes kids to miss weeks of school and leaves them out of sports and band for a month? That one? Because you’re right - the flu kills people every year. It does, but you’re ignoring the why. It’s because there are people who are a--holes who don’t care about infecting other people. In that regard it’s a perfect comparison to COVID.

“Almost everyone recovers.”

You’re confusing “release from the hospital” and “no longer infected” with “recovered.” I’m fortunate to only know two people who have had COVID. One my age and one my dad’s age. The one my age described it as “absolute hell” and although no longer infected cannot breathe right. The one my dad’s age was in the hospital for 13 weeks, had to have a trach ring put in because she could no longer be on a ventilator, and upon finally getting home and being faced with incalculable time in rehab told my mother, “I wish I had died.”

While I’m making every effort to reach objectivity, on this particular point, you don’t know what the f- you’re talking about.

“If people get sick, they get sick.”

First, you mistyped. What you intended to say was “If OTHER people get sick, they get sick.” And shame on you.

“I’m not going to live my life in fear.”

You already live your life in fear. For your health, your family’s health, your job, your retirement, terrorists, extremists, one political party or the other being in power, the new neighbors, an unexpected home repair, the next sunrise. What you meant to say was, “I’m not prepared to add ANOTHER fear,” and I’ve got news for you: that ship has sailed. It’s too late. There are two kinds of people, and only two: those that admit they’re afraid, and those that are lying to themselves about it.

As to the fear argument, fear is the reason you wait up when your kids stay out late, it’s the reason you tell your kids not to dive in the shallow water, to look both ways before crossing the road. Fear is the respect for the wide world that we teach our children. Except in this instance, for reasons no one has been able to explain to me yet.

“FCPS leadership sucks.”

I will summarize my view of the School Board thusly: if the 12 of you aren’t getting into a room together because it represents a risk, don’t tell me it’s OK for our kids. I understand your arguments, that we need the 2 days option for parents who can’t work from home, kids who don’t have internet or computer access, kids who needs meals from the school system, kids who need extra support to learn, and most tragically for kids who are at greater risk of abuse by being home. All very serious, all very real issues, all heartbreaking. No argument.

But you must first lead by example. Because you’re failing when it comes to optics. All your meetings are online. What our children see is all of you on a Zoom telling them it’s OK for them to be exactly where you aren’t. I understand you’re not PR people, but you really should think about hiring some.

“I talked it over with my kids.”
Let’s put aside for a moment the concept of adults effectively deferring this decision to children, the same children who will continue to stuff things into a full trash can rather than change it out. Yes, those hygienic children.

Listen, my 15 year old daughter wants a sport car, which she’s not getting next year because it would be dangerous to her and to others. Those kinds of decisions are our job. We step in and decide as parents, we don’t let them expose themselves to risks because their still developing and screen addicted brains narrow their understanding of cause and effect.

We as parents and adults serve to make difficult decisions. Sometimes those are in the form of lessons, where we try to steer kids towards the right answer and are willing to let them make a mistake in the hopes of teaching better decision making the next time around. This is not one of those moments. The stakes are too high for that. This is a “the adults are talking” moment. Kids are not mature enough for this moment. That is not an attack on your child. It is a broad statement about all children. It is true of your children and it was true when we were children. We need to be doing that thinking here, and “Johnny wants to see Bobby at school” cannot be the prevailing element in the equation.

“The teachers need to do their job.”
How is it that the same society which abruptly shifted to virtual students only three months ago, and offered glowing endorsements of teachers stating, “we finally understand how difficult your job is,” has now shifted to “screw you, do your job.” There are myriad problems with that position but for the purposes of this piece let’s simply go with, “You’re not looking for a teacher, you’re looking for the babysitter you feel your property tax payment entitles you to.”

“Teachers have a greater chance to being killed by a car than they do of dying from COVID.”

(Eye roll) Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the U.S. see approximately 36,000 auto fatalities a year. Again, there have been 133,420 COVID deaths in the United States through 12:09 July 10, 2020. So no, they do not have a great chance of being killed in a car accident.

And, if you want to take the actual environment into consideration, the odds of a teacher being killed in a car accident in their classroom, you know, the environment we’re actually talking about, that’s right around 0%.

“If the grocery store workers can be onsite what are the teachers afraid of?”

(Deep breath) A grocery store worker, who absolutely risks exposure, has either six feet of space or a plexiglass shield between them and individual adult customers who can grasp their own mortality whose transactions can be completed in moments, in a 40,000 SF space.

A teacher is with 11 ‘customers’ who have not an inkling what mortality is, for 45 minutes, in a 675 SF space, six times a day.

Just stop.

“Teachers are choosing remote because they don’t want to work.”

(Deep breaths) Many teachers are opting to be remote. That is not a vacation. They’re requesting to do their job at a safer site. Just like many, many people who work in buildings with recycled air have done. And likely the building you’re not going into has a newer and better serviced air system than our schools.

Of greater interest to me is the number of teachers choosing the 100% virtual option for their children. The people who spend the most time in the buildings are the same ones electing not to send their children into those buildings. That’s something I pay attention to.

“I wasn’t prepared to be a parent 24/7” and “I just need a break.”

I truly, deeply respect that honesty. Truth be told, both arguments have crossed my mind. Pre COVID, I routinely worked from home 1 – 2 days a week. The solace was nice. When I was in the office, I had an actual office, a room with a door I could close, where I could focus. During the quarantine that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve been frustrated, I’ve been short, I’ve gone to just take a drive and get the hell away for a moment and been disgusted when one of the kids sees me and asks me to come for a ride, robbing me of those minutes of silence. You want to hear silence. I get it. I really, really do.

Here’s another version of that, admittedly extreme. What if one of our kids becomes one of the 302? What’s that silence going to sound like? What if you have one of those matted frames where you add the kid’s school picture every year? What if you don’t get to finish the pictures?

“What does your gut tell you to do?”

Shawn and I have talked ad infinitum about all of these and other points. Two days ago, at mid-discussion I said, “Stop, right now, gut answer, what is it,” and we both said, “virtual.”

A lot of the arguments I hear people making for the 2 days sound like we’re trying to talk ourselves into ignoring our instincts, they are almost exclusively, “We’re doing 2 days, but…”. There’s a fantastic book by Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear, which I’ll minimize for you thusly: your gut instinct is a hardwired part of your brain and you should listen to it. In the introduction he talks about elevators, and how, of all living things, humans are the only ones that would voluntarily get into a soundproof steel box with a potential predator just so they could skip a flight of stairs.

I keep thinking that the 2 days option is the soundproof steel box. I welcome, damn, beg, anyone to convince me otherwise.

At the time I started writing at 12:09 PM, 133,420 Americans had died from COVID. Upon completing this draft at 7:04 PM, that number rose to 133,940.

520 Americans died of COVID while I was working on this. In seven hours.
@Matata
THANK YOU FOR YOUR POST.
 

LLJsmom

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My son is heading to college, out of state. If he gets sick, he will need to handle his recovery over there. I'll go and do what I can, but not sure what that would be. We want him to have whatever college experience he can have. His school is making all kids of changes, adjustments, and thinking out of the box. I'm hopeful.

My teenaged daughter is at home, and I would like to keep her at home even when fall arrives. The school district has not decided what they will do. We live with my elderly parents, and it is not worth it to me to not only expose her, but potentially expose my parents. That is my decision.

It has been hard on my kids, but they have been able to adjust to socializing virtually. My daughter leads an online summer camp for 3 hours every day, teaching 8 year olds participating from home. She does martial arts in her room over zoom every day and is taking Academy of Art classes online as well. My son talks to friends while gaming and online. He has a job that can be done remotely. Yes, life is different. There is a new normal for the time being. If this goes on longer, I think new companies and technologies will make online learning better. It will never have all the benefits of learning in person. However that is a compromise I am willing to make given the situation in my home. And yes, I am that strict mom that does not let her children socialize IRL, even with social distancing. I am not going to worry about how they adjust to not being with their friends. I told them that the lives of their grandparents are more important.
 

OboeGal

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And yes, I am that strict mom that does not let her children socialize IRL, even with social distancing. I am not going to worry about how they adjust to not being with their friends. I told them that the lives of their grandparents are more important.
I really respect and admire your approach to this. They will learn incredibly important things about adaptability, risk assessment, and responsibility toward others from this.
 

Gussie

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@nala , are you in Orange County? I just read that they are going back to school, no masks, no distancing. Really??
 

nala

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@nala , are you in Orange County? I just read that they are going back to school, no masks, no distancing. Really??
Hi! No! The county board has no power over any district. They can make recommendations but that is all. My guess is they did that to allow certain schools who choose to do that the liberty to do so. But my district just announced we will be starting off the year doing only distance learning! I think some of the affluent beach districts with low numbers might opt to do that. But my inner city district isn’t.
 

Arcadian

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OboeGal

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This appeared on my Facebook feed. The quoted opinion is purported to be that of a child and family counselor. It being Facebook, I'm unable to confirm whether or not that is actually the case, but the points they are making speak a great deal to me.

A therapist’s perspective has been absent regarding children’s mental health in the debate to open schools or not. This is posted with permission from a therapist in Maryland, Jean Ann, LCMFT, RPT, CFPT. Thanks for posting, Adam Bloom!

"As a child and family therapist, I strongly disagree with the arguments that "schools should reopen for children's emotional health". No version of this situation is good for children's mental well-being, so we are choosing between bad situations here. Calls to open up schools are shorted sighted and illogical. Here are some things bad for emotional health about reopening:
- Children experiencing so much more death of their loved ones, friend's loved ones, and community members.
- Having to obey rigid and developmentally inappropriate behavioral expectations to maintain social distancing for hours at a time.
- Restricting their engagement with their peers even though those peers are right in front of them.
- Having to constantly actively participate in cleaning rituals that keep their community trauma present with them.
- Somehow having to have the executive functioning within all of this to meet educational standards and possibly experiencing overwhelm, shame, and self-doubt when they reasonably can't
- Being unable to receive age appropriate comfort from teachers and staff when dysregulated from all of this, thereby experiencing attachment injuries daily.
- Lack of any predictability as COVID takes staff members for weeks at a time with no warning while children wonder if that staff will die as well as the looming threat of going to back into quarantine any random day.
Returning to school as things are now is NOT better for children's mental health. It is a complete rationalization by people who are uncomfortable with children not engaging in productivity culture. The majority of schooling NEEDS to stay virtual to protect our children and teachers and to make room for the safe return of the populations of students who actually do need to be in person."
 

YadaYadaYada

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Today we had to fill out a survey and it said parents could opt for distance learning from August until January. So I guess that is what "temporary" looks like. It also said parents must have a digital thermometer for daily temperature checks, I assume that doesn't apply to us since we are distance learning.
 

soxfan

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I live in Mass. Teacher's unions pushing back hard. Don't blame them. I don't think public schools go back. Private? Probably.
 

Maria D

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My colleagues are anxious about school opening. We don't know what to plan for or when we will know. The district has outlined three possibilities: in-person with safeguards, remote, hybrid. Everyone is waiting on guidance from the state (Maine).

I'm not feeling anxious - I'm feeling a mixture of denial and numbness about the whole thing. It just doesn't feel productive to think about it too much. My prediction is that if schools open most parents will opt to send their kids. Our governor has been very cautious. If her administration thinks schools can opened safely, then I will feel comfortable going back.

But, my colleague friends tell me I'm dreaming, that there's no way we'll be back in the building in September. So I just try not to think about it!
 

ItsMainelyYou

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My colleagues are anxious about school opening. We don't know what to plan for or when we will know. The district has outlined three possibilities: in-person with safeguards, remote, hybrid. Everyone is waiting on guidance from the state (Maine).

I'm not feeling anxious - I'm feeling a mixture of denial and numbness about the whole thing. It just doesn't feel productive to think about it too much. My prediction is that if schools open most parents will opt to send their kids. Our governor has been very cautious. If her administration thinks schools can opened safely, then I will feel comfortable going back.

But, my colleague friends tell me I'm dreaming, that there's no way we'll be back in the building in September. So I just try not to think about it!
I was just looking today if there had been any new info...I'm not sure we'll feel comfortable sending the kids this fall even though comparatively Maine's been 'okay' so far. The uncertainty, it's exhausting.
 

House Cat

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My county in Northern California announced that our schools would only offer distance learning.
 

kenny

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I've always NOT wanted kids but I've never been happier that I didn't have kids.

I read that many are now foregoing kids because of C19.
Good idea! :dance:
 

yennyfire

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Some things don't change.

On the same day our school district announced that school will be online only until it is safer to open, they released the HS football schedules. Games start on August 27. You can't make this sh** up.
At least you’ll be online only. We are either virtual (basically, the kids teach themselves) or Face to face with masks “encouraged” as our cases jump by thousands per day statewide. Our football schedule was released too. Our volleyball, softball and track teams have resumed practice.....the whole thing is asinine! I’m praying that someone grows a brain (or balls!) overnight and realizes that we need to start the year virtually and then spend the next month figuring out how to improve on the debacle that we experienced in March. Our teachers worked their butts off, but were given no guidance or resources. Hoping that can/will be remedied, as I can’t see us being in school for awhile if they do the safe thing.
 

OboeGal

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@Gussie and @yennyfire: same here with sports resuming practice as well as the marching bands, for crying out loud. Close contact, heavy breathing with exertion, and blowing on wind instruments. With older students who are both at greater risk of severe outcomes and more likely to be infectious to others than very young children. What could go wrong? :wall:

The school district we live in has released their plan. I haven't heard all the details, but apparently they are offering either all in-school, 5 days a week, or all online, with no hybrid option. Parents have the option to re-evaluate their chosen option in December for the after-holidays restart in January. And speaking of the holidays (sorry for the off-topic tangent).......

Can y'all imagine what kind of c**pshow it's going to be after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years....combined with the height of flu season?

:eek2:
 

Slick1

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I found this compelling. I am copying and pasting it. Hope it formats well. Sorry for the length. He makes some very good points.

****************************
For anyone trying to make the decision between physical or virtual school for themselves or their children:

Best argument for virtual school I have read, written by a dad. It's long.....but dang, it made me think a LOT. He takes every argument and recontextualizes it with appropriate analogies. The last four paragraphs are the chilling clincher. Thanks for sharing, Karen Lulich Horwath. Every school district in the world is having these discussions RIGHT NOW - or they should be......

Written by a dad in Fairfax county read.
From Joe Morice, daughters in 8th & 10th grade in our Centreville Pyramid:

To our fellow FCPS families, this is it gang, 5 days until the 2 days in school vs. 100% virtual decision. Let’s talk it out, in my traditional mammoth TL/DR form.

Like all of you, I’ve seen my feed become a flood of anxiety and faux expertise. You’ll get no presumption of expertise here. This is how I am looking at and considering this issue and the positions people have taken in my feed and in the hundred or so FCPS discussion groups that have popped up. The lead comments in quotes are taken directly from my feed and those boards. Sometimes I try to rationalize them. Sometimes I’m just punching back at the void.

Full disclosure, we initially chose the 2 days option and are now having serious reservations. As I consider the positions and arguments I see in my feed, these are where my mind goes. Of note, when I started working on this piece at 12:19 PM today the COVID death tally in the United States stood at 133,420.

*****“My kids want to go back to school.”*****
I challenge that position. I believe what the kids desire is more abstract. I believe what they want is a return to normalcy. They want their idea of yesterday. And yesterday isn’t on the menu.

*****“I want my child in school so they can socialize.”*****
This was the principle reason for our 2 days decision. As I think more on it though, what do we think ‘social’ will look like? There aren’t going to be any lunch table groups, any lockers, any recess games, any study halls, any sitting next to friends, any talking to people in the hallway, any dances. All of that is off the menu. So, when we say that we want the kids to benefit from the social experience, what are we deluding ourselves into thinking in-building socialization will actually look like in the Fall?

*****“My kid is going to be left behind.”*****

Left behind who? The entire country is grappling with the same issue, leaving all children in the same quagmire. Who exactly would they be behind? I believe the rhetorical answer to that is “They’ll be behind where they should be,” to which I’ll counter that “where they should be” is a fictional goal post that we as a society have taken as gospel because it maps to standardized tests which are used to grade schools and counties as they chase funding.

*****“Classrooms are safe.”*****

At the current distancing guidelines from FCPS middle and high schools would have no more than 12 people (teachers + students) in a classroom (I acknowledge this number may change as FCPS considers the Commonwealth’s 3 ft with a mask vs. 6 ft position, noting that FCPS is all mask regardless of the distance). For the purpose of this discussion we’ll say classes run 45 minutes.

I posed the following question to 40 people today, representing professional and management roles in corporations, government agencies, and military commands: “Would your company or command have a 12 person, 45 minute meeting in a conference room?”

100% of them said no, they would not. These are some of their answers:

“No. Until further notice we are on Zoom.”
“(Our company) doesn’t allow us in (company space).”
“Oh hell no.”
“No absolutely not.”
“Is there a percentage lower than zero?”
“Something of that size would be virtual.”

We do not even consider putting our office employees into the same situation we are contemplating putting our children into. And let’s drive this point home: there are instances here when commanding officers will not put soldiers, ACTUAL SOLDIERS, into the kind of indoor environment we’re contemplating for our children. For me this is as close to a ‘kill shot’ argument as there is in this entire debate. How do we work from home because buildings with recycled air are not safe, because we don’t trust other people to not spread the virus, and then with the same breath send our children into buildings?

*****“Children only die .0016 of the time.”*****

First, conceding we’re an increasingly morally bankrupt society, but when did we start talking about children’s lives, or anyone’s lives, like this? This how the villain in movies talks about mortality, usually 10-15 minutes before the good guy kills him.

If you’re in this camp, and I acknowledge that many, many people are, I’m asking you to consider that number from a slightly different angle.

FCPS has 189,000 children. .0016 of that is 302. 302 dead children are the Calvary Hill you’re erecting your argument on. So, let’s agree to do this: stop presenting this as a data point. If this is your argument, I challenge you to have courage equal to your conviction. Go ahead, plant a flag on the internet and say, “Only 302 children will die.” No one will. That’s the kind action on social media that gets you fired from your job. And I trust our social media enclave isn’t so careless and irresponsible with life that it would even, for even a millisecond, enter any of your minds to make such an argument.

Considered another way: You’re presented with a bag with 189,000 $1 bills. You’re told that in the bag are 302 random bills, they look and feel just like all the others, but each one of those bills will kill you. Do you take the money out of the bag?

Same argument, applied to the 12,487 teachers in FCPS (per Wikipedia), using the ‘children’s multiplier’ of .0016 (all of us understanding the adult mortality rate is higher). That’s 20 teachers. That’s the number you’re talking about. It’s very easy to sit behind a keyboard and diminish and dismiss the risk you’re advocating other people assume. Take a breath and think about that.

If you want to advocate for 2 days a week, look, I’m looking for someone to convince me. But please, for the love of God, drop things like this from your argument. Because the people I know who’ve said things like this, I know they’re better people than this. They’re good people under incredible stress who let things slip out as their frustration boils over. So, please do the right thing and move on from this, because one potential outcome is that one day, you’re going to have to stand in front of St. Peter and answer for this, and that’s not going to be conversation you enjoy.

*****“Hardly any kids get COVID.”*****

(Deep sigh) Yes, that is statistically true as of this writing. But it is a cherry-picked argument because you’re leaving out an important piece.

One can reasonably argue that, due to the school closures in March, children have had the least EXPOSURE to COVID. In other words, closing schools was the one pandemic mitigation action we took that worked. There can be no discussion of the rate of diagnosis within children without also acknowledging they were among our fastest and most quarantined people. Put another way, you cannot cite the effect without acknowledging the cause.

*****“The flu kills more people every year.”*****

(Deep sigh). First of all, no, it doesn’t. Per the CDC, United States flu deaths average 20,000 annually. COVID, when I start writing here today, has killed 133,420 in six months.

And when you mention the flu, do you mean the disease that, if you’re suspected of having it, everyone, literally everyone in the country tells you stay the f- away from other people? You mean the one where parents are pretty sure their kids have it but send them to school anyway because they have a meeting that day, the one that every year causes massive f-ing outbreaks in schools because schools are petri dishes and it causes kids to miss weeks of school and leaves them out of sports and band for a month? That one? Because you’re right - the flu kills people every year. It does, but you’re ignoring the why. It’s because there are people who are a--holes who don’t care about infecting other people. In that regard it’s a perfect comparison to COVID.

*****“Almost everyone recovers.”*****

You’re confusing “release from the hospital” and “no longer infected” with “recovered.” I’m fortunate to only know two people who have had COVID. One my age and one my dad’s age. The one my age described it as “absolute hell” and although no longer infected cannot breathe right. The one my dad’s age was in the hospital for 13 weeks, had to have a trach ring put in because she could no longer be on a ventilator, and upon finally getting home and being faced with incalculable time in rehab told my mother, “I wish I had died.”

While I’m making every effort to reach objectivity, on this particular point, you don’t know what the f- you’re talking about.

*****“If people get sick, they get sick.”*****

First, you mistyped. What you intended to say was “If OTHER people get sick, they get sick.” And shame on you.

*****“I’m not going to live my life in fear.”*****

You already live your life in fear. For your health, your family’s health, your job, your retirement, terrorists, extremists, one political party or the other being in power, the new neighbors, an unexpected home repair, the next sunrise. What you meant to say was, “I’m not prepared to add ANOTHER fear,” and I’ve got news for you: that ship has sailed. It’s too late. There are two kinds of people, and only two: those that admit they’re afraid, and those that are lying to themselves about it.

As to the fear argument, fear is the reason you wait up when your kids stay out late, it’s the reason you tell your kids not to dive in the shallow water, to look both ways before crossing the road. Fear is the respect for the wide world that we teach our children. Except in this instance, for reasons no one has been able to explain to me yet.

*****“FCPS leadership sucks.”*****

I will summarize my view of the School Board thusly: if the 12 of you aren’t getting into a room together because it represents a risk, don’t tell me it’s OK for our kids. I understand your arguments, that we need the 2 days option for parents who can’t work from home, kids who don’t have internet or computer access, kids who needs meals from the school system, kids who need extra support to learn, and most tragically for kids who are at greater risk of abuse by being home. All very serious, all very real issues, all heartbreaking. No argument.

But you must first lead by example. Because you’re failing when it comes to optics. All your meetings are online. What our children see is all of you on a Zoom telling them it’s OK for them to be exactly where you aren’t. I understand you’re not PR people, but you really should think about hiring some.

*****“I talked it over with my kids.”*****
Let’s put aside for a moment the concept of adults effectively deferring this decision to children, the same children who will continue to stuff things into a full trash can rather than change it out. Yes, those hygienic children.

Listen, my 15 year old daughter wants a sport car, which she’s not getting next year because it would be dangerous to her and to others. Those kinds of decisions are our job. We step in and decide as parents, we don’t let them expose themselves to risks because their still developing and screen addicted brains narrow their understanding of cause and effect.

We as parents and adults serve to make difficult decisions. Sometimes those are in the form of lessons, where we try to steer kids towards the right answer and are willing to let them make a mistake in the hopes of teaching better decision making the next time around. This is not one of those moments. The stakes are too high for that. This is a “the adults are talking” moment. Kids are not mature enough for this moment. That is not an attack on your child. It is a broad statement about all children. It is true of your children and it was true when we were children. We need to be doing that thinking here, and “Johnny wants to see Bobby at school” cannot be the prevailing element in the equation.

*****“The teachers need to do their job.”*****
How is it that the same society which abruptly shifted to virtual students only three months ago, and offered glowing endorsements of teachers stating, “we finally understand how difficult your job is,” has now shifted to “screw you, do your job.” There are myriad problems with that position but for the purposes of this piece let’s simply go with, “You’re not looking for a teacher, you’re looking for the babysitter you feel your property tax payment entitles you to.”

*****“Teachers have a greater chance to being killed by a car than they do of dying from COVID.”*****

(Eye roll) Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the U.S. see approximately 36,000 auto fatalities a year. Again, there have been 133,420 COVID deaths in the United States through 12:09 July 10, 2020. So no, they do not have a great chance of being killed in a car accident.

And, if you want to take the actual environment into consideration, the odds of a teacher being killed in a car accident in their classroom, you know, the environment we’re actually talking about, that’s right around 0%.

*****“If the grocery store workers can be onsite what are the teachers afraid of?”*****

(Deep breath) A grocery store worker, who absolutely risks exposure, has either six feet of space or a plexiglass shield between them and individual adult customers who can grasp their own mortality whose transactions can be completed in moments, in a 40,000 SF space.

A teacher is with 11 ‘customers’ who have not an inkling what mortality is, for 45 minutes, in a 675 SF space, six times a day.

Just stop.

*****“Teachers are choosing remote because they don’t want to work.”*****

(Deep breaths) Many teachers are opting to be remote. That is not a vacation. They’re requesting to do their job at a safer site. Just like many, many people who work in buildings with recycled air have done. And likely the building you’re not going into has a newer and better serviced air system than our schools.

Of greater interest to me is the number of teachers choosing the 100% virtual option for their children. The people who spend the most time in the buildings are the same ones electing not to send their children into those buildings. That’s something I pay attention to.

*****“I wasn’t prepared to be a parent 24/7” and “I just need a break.”*****

I truly, deeply respect that honesty. Truth be told, both arguments have crossed my mind. Pre COVID, I routinely worked from home 1 – 2 days a week. The solace was nice. When I was in the office, I had an actual office, a room with a door I could close, where I could focus. During the quarantine that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve been frustrated, I’ve been short, I’ve gone to just take a drive and get the hell away for a moment and been disgusted when one of the kids sees me and asks me to come for a ride, robbing me of those minutes of silence. You want to hear silence. I get it. I really, really do.

Here’s another version of that, admittedly extreme. What if one of our kids becomes one of the 302? What’s that silence going to sound like? What if you have one of those matted frames where you add the kid’s school picture every year? What if you don’t get to finish the pictures?

*****“What does your gut tell you to do?”*****

Shawn and I have talked ad infinitum about all of these and other points. Two days ago, at mid-discussion I said, “Stop, right now, gut answer, what is it,” and we both said, “virtual.”

A lot of the arguments I hear people making for the 2 days sound like we’re trying to talk ourselves into ignoring our instincts, they are almost exclusively, “We’re doing 2 days, but…”. There’s a fantastic book by Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear, which I’ll minimize for you thusly: your gut instinct is a hardwired part of your brain and you should listen to it. In the introduction he talks about elevators, and how, of all living things, humans are the only ones that would voluntarily get into a soundproof steel box with a potential predator just so they could skip a flight of stairs.

I keep thinking that the 2 days option is the soundproof steel box. I welcome, damn, beg, anyone to convince me otherwise.

At the time I started writing at 12:09 PM, 133,420 Americans had died from COVID. Upon completing this draft at 7:04 PM, that number rose to 133,940.

520 Americans died of COVID while I was working on this. In seven hours.

The length of a school day. #302
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
36,302
I just shared this NYT editorial in another thread but will add it here as well.



“ A brief history of the past four months in America:

Experts: Don’t rush to reopen, this isn’t over.

Donald Trump: LIBERATE!

Covid-19: Wheee!

Trump officials: Here’s our opposition research on Anthony Fauci.

And we’re now faced with an agonizing choice: Do we reopen schools, creating risks of a further viral explosion, or do we keep children home, with severe negative effects on their learning?

None of this had to happen. Other countries stuck with their lockdowns long enough to reduce infections to rates much lower than those prevailing here; Covid-19 death rates per capita in the European Union are only a 10th those in the United States — and falling — while ours are rising fast. As a result, they’re in a position to reopen schools fairly safely.

PAUL KRUGMAN’S NEWSLETTER: Get a better understanding of the economy — and an even deeper look at what’s on Paul’s mind.

And the experience of the Northeast, the first major epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, shows that we could have achieved something similar here. Death rates are way down, although still higher than in Europe; on Saturday, for the first time since March, New York City reported zero Covid-19 deaths.

Would a longer lockdown have been economically sustainable? Yes.

It’s true that strong social distancing requirements led to high unemployment and hurt many businesses. But even America, with its ramshackle social safety net, was able to provide enough disaster relief — don’t call it stimulus! — to protect most of its citizens from severe hardship.


Thanks largely to expanded unemployment benefits, poverty didn’t soar during the lockdown. By some measures it may even have gone down.

True, there were holes in that safety net, and many people did suffer. But we could have patched those holes. Yes, emergency relief costs a lot of money, but we can afford it: The federal government has been borrowing huge sums, but interest rates have remained near historical lows.

Put it this way: At its most severe, the lockdown seems to have reduced G.D.P. by a little over 10 percent. During World War II, America spent more than 30 percent of G.D.P. on defense, for more than three years. Why couldn’t we absorb a much smaller cost for a few months?
So doing what was necessary to bring the coronavirus under control would have been annoying, but entirely feasible.

But that was the road not taken. Instead, many states not only rushed to reopen, they reopened stupidly. Instead of being treated as a cheap, effective way to fight contagion, face masks became a front in the culture war. Activities that posed an obvious risk of feeding the pandemic went unchecked: Large gatherings were permitted, bars reopened.

And the cost of those parties and open bars extends beyond the thousands of Americans who will be killed or suffer permanent health damage as a result of Covid-19’s resurgence. The botched reopening has also endangered something that, unlike drinking in groups, can’t be suspended without doing long-run damage: in-person education.

Some activities hold up fairly well when moved online. I suspect that there will be a lot fewer people flying cross-country to stare at PowerPoints than there were pre-Covid, even once we finally beat this virus.

Education isn’t one of those activities. We now have overwhelming confirmation of something we already suspected: For many, perhaps most students there is no substitute for actually being in a classroom.

But rooms full of students are potential Petri dishes, even if the young are less likely to die from Covid-19 than the old. Other countries have managed to reopen schools relatively safely — but they did so with much lower infection rates than currently prevail in America, and with adequate testing, which we still don’t have in many hot spots.

So we’re now facing a terrible, unnecessary dilemma. If we reopen in-person education, we risk feeding an out-of-control pandemic. If we don’t, we impair the development of millions of American students, inflicting long-term damage on their lives and careers.

And the reason we’re in this position is that states, cheered on by the Trump administration, rushed to allow large parties and reopen bars. In a real sense America drank away its children’s future.

Now what? At this point there are probably as many infected Americans as there were in March. So what we should be doing is admitting that we blew it, and doing a severe lockdown all over again — and this time listening to the experts before reopening. Unfortunately, it’s now too late to avoid disrupting education, but the sooner we deal with this the sooner we can get our society back on track.

But we don’t have the kind of leaders we need. Instead, we have the likes of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, politicians who refuse to listen to experts and never admit having been wrong.

So while there have been a few grudging policy adjustments, the main response we’re seeing to colossal policy failure is a hysterical attempt to shift the blame. Some officials are trying to besmirch Dr. Fauci’s reputation; others are diving into unhinged conspiracy theories.

As a result, the outlook is grim. This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better, and the nation will suffer permanent damage.
 

autumngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
1,610
I want to add. Just drove by a 24 hour fitness gym and there was a line wrapped around the building! All ages. Waiting in line to work out! I would think the gym would be super risky!
I know this floors me, our gyms are supposed to be closed and our True Fit has been open for 3 weeks, nobody cares, sad.
 

Gussie

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
2,796
@yennyfire, these decisions about school are awful. So much has changed in so little time. I am just praying for God to show me the way!

I am pleasantly surprised by our school district though. They did cancel all extra curricular activities indefinitely, including sports. I guess they jumped the gun and released the football schedule before the decision about school had been made. They also have decided that all school will be online until they are able to figure out a hybrid schedule that will allow for 45 square feet per student. More that 6 feet distance! I don't know how they will manage that but they said that they absolutely will not open without that much space per student. I would think that kids would only be able to go a day a week. But honestly, I just can't think that far in the future.

We will allow our kids to see a few friends, outdoors, distanced and masked. They have to have some social activity. This seems the least risky.

Prayers for you and your family @yennyfire and all other parents faced with this.
 

autumngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
1,610
North Carolina public schools have received the state's go-ahead to open for in-person instruction in August even as Gov. Roy Cooper extends Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan for another three weeks.

Cooper said Tuesday that the state is going with its "Plan B" contingency for K-12 public schools in North Carolina, allowing them to open for in-person instruction or online learning based on the discretion of individual school districts.

Luckily my child is out of school already so glad I don't have to deal with this.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,048
I thought I had already posted what we decided to do but I guess not.

We will be doing Virtual School from home. My state has a good virtual school system that my older son did his senior year. It has
been available to anyone for a long time (it's not new). Actually, the county requires you to take one online class for graduation through
the Virtual School system. My DD is a 10th grader and pretty much runs on her own as far as schoolwork. Her Dad and I are able to
help if she has problems with a subject (algebra 2 and chem this year o_O).

I really wanted her to be able to go back but I just think there are bound to be COVID breakouts and then the kids will be sent home to do online
school (not virtual school). They will have to quickly switch over from going to school to online work in basically a day's notice. Will they be
allowed to come back to school after 2 weeks of no noticeable illness or will they have to have a negative COVID test before they come back?
That's a lot of effort to go through to have to get the test and then wait for the results (but is it safe to send them back without the test?) Then
they can be back at school for a week and someone in their class shows up positive and it starts all over again? I just think that there is too
much possibility for disruption plus too many unanswered questions by the county (like will they require a negative test to come back or not)?

So, to preempt the possibility of the disruption(s), we've decided for her to stay home and do Virtual School. She is happy with that resolution.

She may go to her school for her Orchestra class (only). I have to find out if they will be wearing masks and be socially distancing. If not,
I guess it will be private lessons.

I certainly dont judge any parent for their decision. These are tough times and we're having to make tough decisions that we never could
have imagined. I figure if some kids stay home and do Virtual school it will provide more space for those that choose to attend which is a
good thing. (One less student there to bring COVID in.)
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,521
Our district just removed the Face to Face option. All virtual only. On one hand, I’m relieved (from a physical well being perspective), on the other, I’m worried about long term affects on emotional health, educational preparedness, etc.

And the burden on working parents with young kids is tremendous. I can’t even imagine!

Just nationally mandate the masks already and just maybe we can go back in person sometime this year!
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
6,431
Sorry to drop and run but this just resonates. I am not encouraging anti-vax but isnt it ironic?
77A787A3-09A4-4350-AAC7-C18648672B34.jpeg
It's all about money, schools don't want to lose funding. Even in CT where they talked about repealing the religious exemption there was great concern about how many kids would not be able to attend school so they were talking about grandfathering.

It's always about money over health.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
36,302
Sorry to drop and run but this just resonates. I am not encouraging anti-vax but isnt it ironic?
77A787A3-09A4-4350-AAC7-C18648672B34.jpeg
Cause they are hypocrites.
And it (almost always) comes down to the almighty dollar. ::)
 
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