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.

(33) comments

gjthuro

well said Erin

mamlukman

Outrageous! Those teachers' unions are totally unreasonable! And I'm SURE the letter writer went to their web site to see just how unreasonable they are! I'll recap, in case all you good citizens are willing to just take someone's word. Link at end.

1) The teachers' union has been asking for over a year to meet with Hogan or Superintendent Salmon. How dare they! They clearly don't know their place. Hogan and Salmon are totally right to ignore them and refuse to meet with them. That'll show them.

2) What do the teachers' unions want in the way of Covid safety? the fools want want the CDC, Maryland Dept. of Health, OSHA, and MSDE recommendations followed. We all know that's just silly and unnecesary.

3) We all know that the state immediately allocated resources to schools and put in place protocols to protect everyone, right? Oh wait...they didn't? hmmmm....

4) Hogan recently said there is "no public health reason for county school boards to keep students out of school." Absolutely. We all know that children un 13 can't spread the virus....oh, oh, this just in: They can. And of course Covid is completely under control in Frederick County. What's a few hundred cases a week? Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

5) What's with those sissy teachers? We all know cashiers in grocery stores, Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. have been working all along. Yes, all those workers have not missed a step. Now if the teachers could also have plexiglass shields between them and the students, and if each student would conduct a momentary transaction and not loiter around in the classroom for 6 hours a day...

6) Teachers. And bus drivers. And janitors. And cafeteria workers. And aides. And administrative staff. No problems in sight.

7) Remember all those metrics the state issued about positivity rates, cases per 100,000, etc.? they were to guide opening schools if certain conditions were met. But clearly that was unreasonable--much easier just to ditch the guidelines, which is what the state did. No cause for alarm.

8) Putting its money where its mouth is, the State Board of Education meets in person, regularly. What???? They don't? They're still meeting via zoom?

But of course the letter writer knew all this, right? As did all you avid readers. And no, I have no horse in the race--my kids are in their 40s and I have no connection to FCPS.

https://marylandeducators.org/letter-from-msea-president-cheryl-bost-to-gov-hogan-and-dr-salmon/

phydeaux994

👍👍👍👍👍

shiftless88

I think it's time for Erin to take a teaching job. I mean, why is it that so many non-teachers like to complain about teachers? If you think it is such an important job and don't like the way it is being done, then do it yourself instead of just complaining.

HappySeller2014

The FCPS Board is spineless, incompetent and has a backbone of jello. Not only with this school reopening fiasco, but with the Siballasville flip-flop as well.

Except for the student representative, whose voting appears to show competence.

When you elect folks to the FCPS Board who have no children, have no political nor strategic acumen, and are bowls full of mush, this is what you get.

Washington and Carroll County parents, teachers and educators are all laughing at us in Frederick County. Besides photo ops, I bet many of these FCPS Board members are clueless as to the vast majority of the interiors of our local schools, as they do not venture out and put their feet on the ground to try to understand what is going on in real time.

This is all a tragedy for all our children. Hungry ones, struggling ones, successful ones...all are struggling...and the FCPS Board is a circus.

gabrielshorn2013

"We have now watched the board cow-tow..."

Is the board pulling the cow behind their car like a trailer? Was it illegally parked?

bosco

If you tow a cow, it's a good idea to put a sign on it that says "BEAN TOAD" so that approaching drivers will know that the cow is under control.

phydeaux994

Thank goodness you guys are PERFECT!!!!

gabrielshorn2013

Who says?

public-redux

Could have been worse: cow toe.

shiftless88

It is important to look not just at the US but what has worked around the world. With the numbers this high still most countries have also restricted school attendance. The key is to get the numbers down so just do your part.

Greg F

How many more letters do we need on this subject? The pandemic is not over, the board is full of folks who either don't understand science or are simply hell-bent on following the will of a minority of loudmouths that also don't care if their infected kids interact with others that may have vulnerabilities. A vaccine isn't perfect, but at this point when there are still fewer than half of everyone NOT vaccinated, this is not the time at the end of the schoolyear already to push this nonsense to smash kids in like sardines again. 6 feet...3 feet....well...we all heard long ago from CDC the actual distance they recommended but were pushed back hard enough on to give up that ghost was 10 feet. There are plenty of models that show how viruses spread in a classroom, especially how quickly in those without adequate ventilation. This is not the time to make things worse or even keep them at the high levels they are now. It is time to get people vaccinated and reduce cases over the summer so your rugrats can get back to class in fall in a full-capacity setting. That won't happen if we don't sacrifice what's left of the school year to get things down from the levels they are still at now.

FlyFisherman

What is it about contracts that so many people don’t like? When one purchase’s a home or automobile, contracts for home repairs,etc. everyone understands that both parties freely enter into a legally binding commitment.

The employee associations have every right to hold the BOE accountable. The process was understood by the previous BOE. This board appears overwhelmed and just wasn’t paying attention to detail. The pandemic isn’t over and the Fall holds great potential for our students and teachers.

emartorano

It said "MOU".... MOUs are not legally binding.

phydeaux994

No, not legally binding but they are a Promise between the parties. Kinda like a handshake was back in the Good ol’ Days. The BoE was not Honorable in this case.

Guy T. Ashton

Isn’t it supposed to be what is beat for the kids’ education rather than satisfying the union? The situation has been very fluid, things change.

public-redux

"kowtow"

Dwasserba

Yes, if PETA chimes in we’ll really have a kerfuffle on our hands

bosco

Is kowtow racist language? I need to check my woke handbook to see. (sarcasm)

phydeaux994

What is wrong with “woke”? What is wrong with PC? What is wrong with being a decent Human Being these days? (not sarcasm) bosco????

bosco

Do a little research on the critical race curriculums being taught in our schools today, Fido, and then come back and tell me all about the benefits of woke and PC.

phydeaux994

Nothing wrong with CRT either bosco. All part of being a decent Human Being.

Greg F

Woke is something Bonzo will never be. Asleep at the wheel...that’s his speed.

FrederickFan

The problem isn't the union, it's the board of education members who voted without thinking. Hold the board of ed members who flip flopped accountable. If they had been prepared and done their homework first, a plan to move forward could have advanced successfully.

louisianagirl71105

Teachers in Frederick County are not in a union and cannot strike; if we could, we may have exercised that right long ago. Teachers in Frederick County have been back in classrooms with students for months. Many classrooms are at maximum capacity. Your research skills need work.

geotracker9

@louisiana realize that you're at 6-foot "capacity", but the new rules would have allowed 3-foot "capacity" and thus more students in the classroom. What gets me is the Union says they also want more kids in school, but they're mad the Board of Ed didn't talk to them first, so they lashed out..to them it's more about proper procedure and not about the kids or the science, and that's unfortunate.

Hayduke2

geo - a contract is useless if not followed...

geotracker9

@Hayduke it would have been very easy for them to file their grievance regarding the process, but also say they agree and let's figure it out...instead they took a "how dare you!" approach, which helps no one, least of all the kids

phydeaux994

The Teachers are already back geo!! They have been back for a month. They would be delighted to have the kids back. Virtual teaching is more work for them. Many teachers who are not computer savvy struggled with it. But many parents aren’t ready to send their kids back. Some Counties are setting up “Virtual Academy’s” for those folks that feel that way. The Unions HAD to push back on this action by the BoE so it won’t happen again. You’d do the same thing if someone broke a Contract with you. Right?

marinick1

[smile][thumbup] Well said, geotracker9. [thumbup]

public-redux

Why do you hate the rule of law so much?

louisianagirl71105

Students learning in a classroom, 3 feet apart and masked, maybe safe for everyone. Students eating and drinking, 3 feet apart and unmasked isn't safe for anyone. Needlessly making students and teachers sick would be unfortunate. Keeping everyone safe isn't.

gabrielshorn2013

Louisianagirl, Check the reports in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) from CDC. Many places have done exactly what the BoE wants to do, without any increase in community spread. Three feet apart, especially if the teachers are vaccinated, is safe, regardless if it is participating in the classroom or eating. There is no reason that every teacher that wanted a vaccine has not received one. The jabs are now given on a walk-in basis with no waiting, free of charge.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/Novel_Coronavirus_Reports.html

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