COVID and Education
Today I received an email from the Chancellor of the school I attend. This is the person that is in charge of the entire university school system (since there are several campuses). The email was with regards to a survey that was sent out asking how comfortable we would be with returning to school with the pandemic going on. Why it was up to popular vote is beyond me.
The role of a school should be to keep the students safe. It sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately our school sent out a short survey that asked us several questions about how comfortable we were with returning to in-person classes while the pandemic was going on. That’s right, we’re leaving it up to the kids to decide. I say kids because a sizable chunk of the student body is freshmen, sophomores, etc. People who are literally fresh out of high school.
According to the email, roughly half (~48%) said they would be fine taking an in-person class. Compare that to about 1/3 of the staff (~38%) who said they would be comfortable teaching in-person classes and you can already see a difference, albeit smaller than I was expecting. Of course, this assumes two things: 1) enough people responded to the survey to accurately represent the student/faculty populations and 2) the email is being truthful about the response.
Now I don’t want to say the school is lying, but it is in their best interest to keep the school open and put bodies in the seats. Even if it means a few of those bodies don’t make it to graduation if you get what I mean. The school gets funding from in-person classes. Their budget is hurting right now, the email made that much explicit. So being truthful wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial to them.
My response to the questionnaire was angry. I was annoyed that they would allow the popular vote make the choice when so many of the people that would respond are essentially children, some not even old enough to vote, some just barely. I’m not sure the survey was anonymous, but frankly I don’t care. I found it selfish to put the schools interests ahead of the student body. That we were better at making choices than the CDC, which if that were the case the pandemic would be at least semi-controlled by now.
The email ended with two “plans” for moving forward. The first assumes things stay basically the same. We will open up at half capacity in that case and research will open fully. Mind you we’re hitting record number of positive cases of COVID and the school thinks now is the time to reopen. The second plan assumed things got worse, they didn’t define “worse,” but worse than what?! In that case only a quarter of in-person classes would resume. That’s the only change.
Yep, either way is not an ideal choice, but the school wants to make money so what’s a few lives in the process? We’ve already had several confirmed cases of COVID on the campus and that is with things being run at a minimum now, I can only imagine what will happen now that things are going to start opening back up. Now that’s a sentence I didn’t think I would be typing alongside the record number of COVID cases we’re seeing… (read more).
Can you tell I’m angry? Because I am, I’m very angry. Capitalism doesn’t care though, so fuck it, some of us are just going to have to die because something something economy something. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m sadly not.
But enough about us, what about you?