The children of Frederick County have suffered greatly over the last year. We as parents have worked hard to be understanding of the issues, but I am compelled to write after the latest headlines regarding schools.
My child is home-schooled at present — we were fortunate to have the ability to do so. I was not comfortable with the virtual model, since it directly contradicts all recommended screen-time limits. We made the decision to stick with home-schooling when the hybrid model was introduced, since it didn't satisfactorily offer a return to normalcy or much of a reduction in screen time. We fully intend to send our child to school in the fall when they are open five days a week.
I have disagreed with much of what has occurred over the last year, because the science has repeatedly proven that the risk to children is so small that it is almost obsolete. I have seen no data to support that schools have been a vector for transmission, and schools across the country have proven that it is possible to open safely. The latest CDC recommendations allow for major changes in how many students can be in the school, and all children should be given that opportunity.
We have now watched the board cow-tow to the union more than once. What exactly are they afraid of? When the board voted to expand the hybrid model, they knew the MOU was in place, and that its decision violated that MOU. The board voted regardless of the MOU, so they should have known the union would push back. At this point, it has become clear to many that the union is exercising all of their will to keep kids out of school. If your wish is for the students to get back into the classroom, prove it by moving forward with expanding the hybrid model. Force the unions to show their hand — if they strike, they prove that they don't truly care about these kids.
I am unable to understand why teachers should be given such special attention. Grocery store workers have been showing up since last March, long before there was a vaccine available, and long before we understood that this virus is mostly dangerous to the infirm and elderly. My sister is a teacher at a private school in Bethesda, and has been in the classroom four days a week for the entire school year. Her classroom was not retrofitted with a high-tech filtration system, and yet they have not had any issues with transmission. They wear masks, social distance, and follow all other CDC recommendations. I have not heard a good argument for why public school students shouldn't have the same opportunity.
I hope that the board is able to reach an agreement with the unions. But if not, I hope they are ready to defend our children's right to a good education and social growth.