Are the State of Ohio and Local School Districts Playing Russian Roulette with Staff and Students?
(Note: I’m going off my normal topic of small business finances with this post to a topic that is very timely and of great interest to me right now. My wife and many friends are educators)
I’m trying really, really hard to understand.
Can someone please help me?
Please help me understand the following…
THIS MAKES NO SENSE
In April 2020, the State of #Ohio ordered schools closed and a move to full remote learning due to a surge in Covid.
As we reach the midpoint of November 2020, the State of #Ohio has since pushed the decision-making for in-person vs. remote learning to the local school districts.
As of today, a large majority are still offering in-person learning.
Viewing things in picture form, here’s what Covid-19 looks like in #Ohio from early March through Saturday, November 14, 2020 (thank you @wkyc for the graphic):
COMMON SENSE – DID IT LEAVE THE BUILDING?
For those districts with the common sense and foresight to have already made the call returning to remote learning while this blows over…
Thank you! Thank you!
For those districts that seem to be less enlightened and appear to be hiding behind the “our COVID-19 case numbers remain low” perspective, let’s take a closer look at what it looks like within #Ohio right now:
- 100% of the counties (88 of 88) are reporting High Incidence of Spread within their communities
- Nearly 80% (70 of 88) are in the Level 3 Public Emergency: “Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible”
- @GovMikeDeWine had this to say:
The State of Ohio is on fire with Covid right now.
I ask once again, can someone please help me understand how it is that in-person learning is even an option right now?
BUT WAIT – WE CAN’T GO REMOTE BECAUSE…
“Things are different in November than they were in April. We know more about the virus and can handle it better.”
No question, great strides have been made in accumulating knowledge about Covid, and that is absolutely awesome!
- Unlike professional sports players and Hollywood stars, students and teachers don’t have access to daily or weekly testing (at least as far as I know, and I have zero idea why they can’t get it)
- While the bright light of a vaccine is on the horizon, it is NOT here right now, and won’t be for a number of months at the earliest.
As clearly demonstrated by the graphics above, High Incidence spread IS here. RIGHT NOW.
Hospitals and medical staff are being overwhelmed. RIGHT NOW.
Local health districts are overwhelmed with contact tracing and are unable to keep up. RIGHT NOW.
BUT, BUT WAIT – WE CAN’T GO REMOTE BECAUSE…
“The State of Ohio shouldn’t be making these decisions. Each local school district needs to make their own decisions based on data from their own communities”
In normal times, there may be a lot of validity in this.
These are not normal times to say the least…
It’s very interesting to note:
- The State of Ohio has never been shy about mandating rules and regulations that every school district has to follow in terms of testing and standards
- The State of Ohio has never been shy about telling local school districts how they will be funded
Now is the time for the State of Ohio to put the state vs. local argument aside and mandate remote learning until this blows over. Now is NOT the time to worry about hurting feelings or injecting state vs. local politics into the issue.
We can’t go remote because it is not the optimal way for students and teachers to interact and learn.
Every single educator would likely agree – in-person learning is the optimal way to learn.
Let’s talk about 2020 – how much of anything during this year could be considered “optimal”?
Very little, if any…
Yes, the rapid pivot to virtual learning back in April was rough on everyone. Educators had to swing into this new learning style in a week or less in most cases.
Here’s the good news…
Educators have spent countless hours since April collaborating, sharing, and learning how to make the best use of virtual learning tools and styles to make the best of this approach.
I’ve watched and listened to all of this unfolding literally over my shoulder every week – it’s been an incredible and amazing thing to watch!
When asked another way…
If the choice for your family was:
- Potential sickness/long-term health issues/potential death of family or friends from Covid + Optimal learning
- Health, safety and well-being of family or friends from avoiding Covid + Good learning
Which would you choose?
I’m voting for health, safety and well-being…
To borrow a recent quote in the Wall Street journal from Monica Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia, PA school district – “the combination of the increase in cases and concern about travel around Thanksgiving made the district’s latest decision to pause it’s (in-person) plan a “no-brainer”. Hopefully Ohio schools will feel the same, and soon…
IS IT REALLY TRUE? “THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS AND STAFF IS OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY”
This statement is front and center when school districts are making comments and updates these days. I know you’ve seen it and heard it countless times too.
For those districts that have not yet chosen to revert to fully remote, how can you possibly make this statement?
88 out of 88 counties in Ohio are High Risk. 80% of the counties are at Red level.
And you’re still insisting that it is safe to be physically in school because “your district Covid case levels remain low”?
The Covid fire is raging right outside your buildings, and the smoke is starting to penetrate the windows and doors.
School superintendents and boards – you have the choice to hit pause and move to remote while this blows over. If you choose not to, you’ll likely be doing a lot of apologizing for unnecessary health crises for staff and students in the weeks ahead.
My hope, and likely the hope of thousands of educators and staff is that you choose the remote option.
And if you can’t make that choice or don’t want to face the backlash from the community…
Then I urge @GovMikeDeWine to take back the decision and sign an order for returning to full remote learning until this dramatic rise in cases settles down.
Governor, as you’ve said so eloquently many, many times – “countless lives are at stake here”.
I couldn’t agree more….