I hate to say I told you so, but I did.
In early June, Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled rigid guidelines for reopening public schools that guaranteed students would be spending most of their time at home this fall, mouth breathing while staring at their computer screens.
None of Northam’s restrictions make sense, given that children are basically at low risk from Covid-19 and research shows they aren’t spreaders, either, I wrote at the time.
But hey, Northam – the Science Guy – hasn’t noticed.
So students will get to experience the joy of staggered schedules. Closed cafeterias. Social distancing. Empty school buses. Virtual “learning” several days a week.
Oh, and they’ll be forbidden to mingle.
It wasn’t just me. Everyone capable of simple math realized that Northam’s rules for social distancing – six feet – meant that there was no way a full complement of children could return to their classrooms this fall. No room could hold more than a handful of students.
That would mean more virtual learning. A miserable failure.
And the bus requirements? One child in every other row meant that about 13 kids could ride a bus built to hold 70. Perfect. Bet the climate changers would love seeing a stream of belching cars arrive at schools each morning and afternoon as parents delivered children who couldn’t fit on the empty buses.
As parents fumed and demanded that schools reopen so their kids could attempt to make up the work they missed last year and after dedicated teachers begged to be with their students again, the Northam administration backpedaled slightly, saying the rules were not mandates and schools could get waivers.
Weird. Almost every other decree from Richmond has been a mandate.
Now, less than a month later, the governor has backed off even more. Perhaps Northam saw the light after the American Academy of Pediatrics insisted kids need to be back in class lest they grow fat and depressed from government-ordered isolation.
Whatever the reason, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that, “State officials have quietly updated guidance on reopening schools to include a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that says students can be as close as 3 feet apart…
“That recommendation, which is 3 feet closer than the 6 feet suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could mean more students inside classrooms this fall.”
This is excellent news. Northam gets credit for admitting – sort of – that he was wrong.
Now the only problem will be luring recalcitrant teachers back into the classroom. Educators in Fairfax, for instance, have said they don’t want to return until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19.
Offer them unpaid sabbaticals until a vaccine is developed. Hire replacements who actually want to work.
Oh, and any school district that does not reopen fully this fall should see its budget slashed and refunds offered to parents who can use the loot to get their kids into private schools.
Last time I checked, most of them were reopening.
This column was republished with permission from www.kerrydougherty.com.There are currently no comments highlighted.