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.