I want schools to open. I’ve got a five year old and a fifteen year old in a 900-square-foot house with only two bedrooms, and I’d love to have them literally anywhere else. And we’re among the lucky ones. Public schools don’t just teach. They provide subsidized breakfast and lunch for many of their students, plus access to counselors, community, and nurses. Figuring out how to deliver food and healthcare to these children is more important than how to stagger classes.
But it’s time to face the harsh reality that as parents we’re being asked to make an impossible choice by an administration that has made nothing but the wrong ones from the start. It bungled containing the virus early on, screwed up testing, took a hard right into liberating states once people’s hair got long, and now, at the start of a giant new wave of cases, is taking the same tactic with schools that it did with everything else: deny reality.
Kick’s school district is putting forth some kind of hybrid “two days on, three days remote” plan that is, naturally, pleasing no one. Teachers, parents, everyone’s pissed and confused. But these are the options left to us: How best to do this, when we’ve been ordered to do it, and given no help at all.
Mr. A and I are lucky, we can rework our schedules. She’s in first grade, not fourth or seventh or a sophomore; if we spend more time doing “science” by launching shit off our back deck and placing bets on where it’s gonna land than on math worksheets she’ll likely be fine.
Will her teachers, her beloved principal, her friends, her friends’ parents? Every day this changes. A month ago I’d have said sure, maybe they all wear masks to school but no big (because I have a little rule-follower who will wear her mask without complaint), open ’em on up, we’ve got few cases around us. Now? Now that everybody had to get their fourth of July fuck on and people are taking ROAD TRIPS?
We had time for things to get better and we used that time to make things worse and we’re left with no good options. Disneyland is fucking open, restaurants are posting like “come back! make a reservation!” and I have no idea where we’re going to be in a month. In two months. By Christmas time.
Had we HAD a functioning government, maybe we’d have had a national mandate to shut the fuck down, and stay shut down no matter how much the Tavern League howled. Shut down the beaches, theme parks, everything that wasn’t essential to protect what truly was. Then maybe we’d have a chance at opening up normally in August.
This is what happens when you put people in charge of the federal government who don’t believe in either of those words.