Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Schools and Openings

 Our school district has re-opened (again) for in-person classes.  Something like 80% of parents have opted to send their children in person, including us.

(Fortunately for the teachers, my state has put them right after medical and EMS personnel for priority, and they have all gotten been offered a first dose of vaccine before opening.)

Why did we send our kids back?  Transmission in schools is relatively low - although, of course, not zero- does not drive increases locally (though it does reflect them)- and we probably already had the plague.  Variants arise continuously, and some of those variants will escape immunity, even from vaccination, although vaccine responses are broad enough to generate a suite of antibodies which are likely to be partially protective.  Over time, everyone is likely to contract one form or another of the plague. Online school is terrible, pretty much everyone hates it, and my children are learning very little.  

The pandemic will go on (and on and on); my risk tolerance is relatively high, the schools are opening regardless, and my individual actions can't fix a year of sociopathic systemic failures. My spouse and I both work, which means we have to have childcare, which means that at least three extra people will be in our house; school isn't riskier than that.  Could things have been different, and betterSure, but they aren't.  (Our youngest has been going to a private school since September, which has had not a single case despite sky-high cases locally- mostly the college students.)

I would like to note that I am fully aware of just how bad a 'moderate' case can be.  I was sick in bed for close to a month, exhausted, using an inhaler twice a day.  I know.  Last March, however, when I got sick, it was not exactly avoidable; we got sick even before the first lockdown, while still teaching.

If you are not sending your child to school in person, I fully support this decision!  I also ask you to consider that others' capacity to have their miserable children at home indefinitely, with no societal structure to replace school, is running out.  Schools need vaccines for their staff, less hygiene theater, and more consistent mask-wearing. They don't necessarily need to be closed, though I think they should keep an online option for everyone.  And if private schools are allowed to remain open, but public schools refuse to, that's not a public health intervention: that's pure capitalism mixed with pure elitism. 


  1. redzils2:00 PM

    I'm glad your schools are open! (And glad our schools are open, mostly, even though I'm not sending my kid). Every family has a complex algorithm of needs and risk and available childacare. We're all doing the best we can.

  2. Thanks for this. My kid (6) gets to go back next month— after the teachers have been offered the second vaccine shot. He’s counting the days... and watching others say “no way” makes me feel neglectful. Even though I’m teaching in person, so there’s no way to really minimize risks.

    1. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer but we surely can't go on like this indefinitely. Ironically, our schools could have opened in August when we were at 3 cases a week. We're up to about 100 a week now and they wore out everyone's patience including the superintendent, who said in print that fear was not a reason for ADA accommodation. Congratulations, you played yourselves.


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