Most of us agree COVID is not hoax that will miraculously disappear by the time you read my blog, I’ve 4 months left in my twenty-year service as a school board member in a large suburban school district and truly believe ideal education occurs in face-to-face instruction. I believe schools should act in the best interest of children, not what’s convenient for adults, and remember our classrooms were not built on social distancing.
On Thursday, the Arizona Health Department issued benchmark metrics for the safe reopening of classroom teaching–positivity rate of 5% or less. (Arizona is currently at 10%, while NYC has gone from a 70% positivity rate in March to less than 1% now. It is doable.). Thus, our school board voted to postpone opening until our county reaches the 5% benchmark. Of course, we began virtual, interactive learning on August 5 via technology; we have a “soft-opening” plan when the magic 5% is sustained for 14 days. Is this good for kids? Hell, no! But what I know about medicine and virus could fit under my fingernail with ample space for other things I don’t know. Since I’m one of five board members responsible for the safety and well being of over 33,000 students and staff, I heed the advice of experts.
Now, I find myself deluged with emails urging the start of fall high school sports. Based on my fingernail knowledge, I’ve no problem with Cross Country, Swim and Dive, Golf, and even badminton, but football? Really? Full contact, sweat, and spit. Traveling on school buses around the Valley. My head aches, when I read: Dr. Skidmore, my son may lose his football scholarship to Ball State University, where he’s slated as the number 2 quarterback. Sorry, the MAC has already cancelled its season; I suspect they will understand.
My son has been so depressed he can’t work out in the gym this summer. He’s already been offered a full-ride at OSU and is destined for the NFL. Really? Your son, a senior, is unable to devise his own workout program? He’s welcomed to hoist my sofa over his head innumerable times while I vacuum dog hair. He can dig up my dead bushes, move several tons of granite, and climb up and down my stairs to move heavy junk anytime. The upside is I’ll pay him.
Jack’s 92-year-old grandmother, who tested positive for COVID was only ill for three days, and she wants nothing more than to see her grandson kick the winning field goal. And by the way, you made us sign a waiver to hold the school district harmless. Delighted to learn his grandma is well, but if football happens, I suspect there will not be the usual 6,000 spectators. As to the waiver, which has been done for over 20 years, please know we’ve spent far too much money in court. The waiver does not prevent the district from copious lawsuits. Thank you, but the district could livestream the game on You Tube. PS. We won’t sue you!
Forgive my rant. All I want is to get students and staff safely back together in the classroom. I want kids to experience the camaraderie of collaboration and the joy of learning under the guidance of an A+ teacher. Is that too much for me to ask?