Schools Re-Opening?

Jul 29, 2020 by

No doubt it was not unalloyed altruism that drove the DOE to offer employees an opportunity to work from home if they met certain age and verifiable medical requirements. Nonetheless it was a sensible idea, although it is unfathomable how it would work out in practice.

Sometimes opting for a nightmare is one’s best bet.  The alternative may be unthinkable.

Sorting out the logistics of the coming school year is beyond even Jeff Bezos’s pay-grade. It will be the blueprint from hell. 

But ways must be found because we cannot play roulette with lives. Staying alive takes precedence over instructional models. We can make up for lost time after the pandemic.

Not all kinds of distance can be bridged by technology.  The intimacy of a teacher-child relationship cannot be replicated like crowd noise at an unattended baseball game can.

There is an electrical presence between teacher and student when they are in actual physical proximity.  It is mystical and hopelessly elusive to software.  Nurturing is a currency that has no bitcoin counterpart.  Flesh and blood cannot be digitized. The clicking between instructor and learner is not of the keyboard kind.

Students aren’t fooled by Zoom.  Devices and platforms can be useful tools and resources to facilitate learning, but they are no substitute for in-person interaction. 

I have an  instinctive barrier that usually blocks sympathy for principals.  But I feel something akin to pity for them, because the chaos is not of their doing and is beyond their control.  Yet with schools due to open in a few weeks, principals have next to no specific information about any of the factors that must be known in order to organize and run a school.

As  pressures mount, it may be tempting  to propose solutions based on convenience and the creative application of faulty science. Teachers and the general public must be vigilant to ensure such measures go nowhere.  The AFT is on record declaring that it will not countenance schools re-opening in the absence of solid reliable evidence of safety.

Like hawks eye the ground for rodents, educators and parents must watch out for the always potential shenanigans of politicians and their influence peddlers who may have other interests.

Ron Isaac

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