A cartoon in the opinion section of the Ocean City Sentinel, Ocean City, NJ, printed on Sept. 2, expresses my thoughts very clearly about students returning to the classroom before a vaccine is available. 

The cartoon depicts masked students and teachers entering the front of the schoolhouse with the arrow "TO SCHOOL" pointing to the school. The other side of the school shows students and teachers leaving the school with the arrow "QUARANTINE" pointing homeward.

That is my fear — especially for kindergarten and first-grade students. The teachers are exposed to the bodily fluids of their students almost daily. Some have accidents and need their pants changed. They throw up suddenly without warning, and the child and the table, chair and floor must be cleaned. The teachers cannot leave the classroom. They can call and ask for help for cleanup by custodians (bless their hearts), but the damage is done and the child must be cleaned by someone — teacher or secretary or nurse.

A child with sniffles has to remove the mask to blow his/her nose. Can we guarantee that the children will immediately go wash their hands or use sanitizer every time? The teachers would need eyes in the back of their heads to monitor this.

Children can be fine in the morning and an hour later be sick. It is way too risky to expose the teachers and other students, custodians, and office staff when things like this happen in the classroom — and they do happen — often.

I praise this Board of Education for sticking with the virtual program. The teachers are working harder than ever to give their students a good education virtually. They want so much to be able to be with the children in the classroom, but not at the risk of exposing themselves and their families to the COVID-19 virus.

I ask the board to continue the virtual program until a vaccine is available to protect all the families.

(5) comments

threecents

The answer to this question should be data-based on what has happened in other places where schools have re-opened and what safeguards can work. As Mamlukman pointed out, WalMart is very different from a school situation.

mamlukman

It's now been shown that children rarely get Covid up until age 10. After that, they get it at the same rate as adults. But the problem is not that the children will be infected--though they will be--it's that the teachers, bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers, etc. will get infected.

And I would argue that being a clerk at Walmart, which is a huge warehouse with ceiling 20-30 feet high, and being a teacher, with 30+ kids in a small room for hours and hours are totally different levels of exposure.

neilyoungfan25

Margaret, you need to stay in the house till the pandemic is over. My neighbor works at Walmart and she’s exposed to coughing sneezing people every day. Not to mention having to touch hundreds of grocery items that Lord knows how many times have been handled by total strangers. How privileged teachers have been. They say don’t compare us to grocery store workers, but really, how can we not?

yogib

Ms Young is right on. The schools are doing their best under the circumstances and most importantly they are keeping our kids safe.

Biker1

Keep all the schools closed until there is a vaccine that is effective which we can ALL get! Too many people are sick and dying...don't we get it! Schools are a super spreader. Grades K-12 takes 13 years, missing 1/2 of one year or even a full school year will have very little effect on what they learn and their success in life. But people in their family or close friends dying from Covid may well have a major effect on their life.

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