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School and COVID-19

School being cleaned in preparation for students return. This is security theater, it spreads from student to student more readily than from desk to student.
This is security theater, like taking your shoes off at the airport, it does nothing to keep you safe. Instead it makes people feel better, in this case the school for letting your children spread this virus without a care.

School, I would like to consider myself a lifelong student, but formal instruction is a little different than learning on the job or via the web. With classes starting, my stress seems to be slowly ratcheting up. Oh I’ll be fine, I’m taking an online course this term, I’m worried about everyone else.

It’s not completely altruistic, although if we really think about it, nothing ever is. I genuinely am tired of all the death and the needless suffering. People are spreading COVID-19 like it’s not real or it’s not a big deal. To be fair, for some it isn’t, but it’s one of those things that until you get it you don’t completely know.

I would prefer not to be another link in the chain. I’ve taken precautions since the start to ensure that I wouldn’t get sick and while nothing is 100% foolproof, I’ve managed to avoid catching it. That doesn’t mean I will always be so lucky and that doesn’t mean that as more and more people get sick, I won’t be at higher and higher risk of catching it myself.

So with all that said school is starting and not everyone thinks going digital is the best way to handle it. In fact, some are planning to simply ignore it and that’s what worries me the most. Yes, kids are far less likely to die from it, that doesn’t mean there aren’t life-long implications of catching COVID-19. As we are increasingly seeing from medical reports, just because you survive doesn’t mean you are back to normal afterwards. There are a whole ton of different long lasting effects the virus has on people. Again, we don’t know how, we don’t know why, and the only way to know for sure if you’re one of the unlucky ones who survives but isn’t normal is to catch it.

I’ll be the first to admit that internet access isn’t equal. While high-speed internet should be a free, public, and widely accessible service (especially in light of the pandemic), it is not. This leaves poor, disadvantaged, and rural families without a way to safely let their children attend school. There are already cases of families being charged with child abuse because they simply did not have the means to access the internet like you our I do (no really… read more).

Did I mention there’s a pandemic going on and that the foster care system (which, if you didn’t know is where kids who get separated from their families go) is a special hell on earth designed to destroy children. That was BEFORE the pandemic, so I could only imagine what the system is like right now. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. Kids who enter the foster system never, NEVER, come out the same I don’t care if it’s only for a week or for a year.

The question then becomes what do we do about it? Well the obvious solution is to take this seriously… schools. We shouldn’t blame children for our failures, or in this case the school shouldn’t blame children for their failures. It’s the schools job to keep children safe while they are learning, they have failed this job ever since mass shootings started and schools decided to have police bully children in the halls of the school as if that fixes anything * waves vaguely at every school shooting ever * if anything, schools are going backwards.

This of course is what happens when we have a for profit system that requires students to be physically present for the school to get paid. We get people calling the police on parents because they cannot attend virtual school. We get schools pretending that children will be just fine, nothing to see here. We get half measures or no measures at all. No one is taking the proper precautions, much less enforcing them. We’re left with the school pointing the finger at the children when it’s their own damned fault.

So yes school is starting. I fucking hate it. We aren’t ready, we had the time, we had the motivation, but the schools collectively dropped the ball, the government didn’t even show up for the effort, and mega corporations are using this as a way to sell us shit that won’t do a damn thing to keep you or your children safe. I mean, we live in a country where bullet-proof backpacks are a serious thing. It shouldn’t be surprising that companies are going to try to further capitalize on the suffering of others while actively lobbying to keep that suffering going.

The bottom line is simply this, since the middle of july we have had over 1000 deaths a day, just in the United States. That’s just deaths. That isn’t people who never seem to fully recover, maybe they will a year from now, or ten years from now, or maybe never, we still don’t know. That doesn’t include all the suffering that this virus causes, does that not count for anything? Is the gold standard either life or death and as long as you don’t get nudged into the death category you can get as close as you want and people won’t care?

The sad truth is this, we have 1000 deaths a day and not enough people care to do something about it collectively. 1000 deaths every single day. We aren’t even a full year into the pandemic, heck we’re barely over 6 months into it since it really started. We’re already at 175,000 deaths total and that is, with certainty, a gross undercount. My faith in humanity has never been lower.

With schools opening, it will only get worse. How much worse is up to the schools, but it looks like they are taking a we don’t care approach to the pandemic which has been a hallmark of the US response. Basically this is a long-winded post to tell you to stay safe, mask up, and avoid people as best as you can. If you’re a student and don’t get a say in avoiding people, well then I’m sorry, but do what you can and try your best not to be another link in this chain.

But enough about us, what about you?

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