School Teachers Get Virus? Too Damned Bad!

By Peter Galuszka

Here at Bacons Rebellion, a favorite blood sport of late has been tearing apart school teachers by ripping up their “values,” their personal courage, their honesty, their intellects and their mindless lapdog following of their commissars at teachers’ unions

The same is true for college professors and administrators (Golly Darn, Reed Fawell just discovered the 1960s!”)

The issue is a deadly one, the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far killed more Americans – twice more U.S. military in fact – than were killed in the Vietnam War. Today, there is an understandably complicated and confusing exercise that will try to come up with the safest ways to go back to school.

I won’t get into that because I am no expert, but I cringe when I read the likes of Kerry Dougherty and James A. Bacon Jr. in their endless attacks on the teaching profession.

She opines: “Odds that elected representatives will have the courage to  stand up to the teachers and reopen schools? Zero. It seems that some teachers want guarantees that there is no risk. Preposterous. There can never be a risk free environment.”

Now for a reality check. The Virginia Mercury reports that when public school teachers do report back to work in classrooms at risk for virus, there is no guarantee that they will get workman’s compensation if they become infected.

“The burden of proof to determine that’s where you contracted the disease is going to be tough to do,” said Lee Bannon, an official with VACORP, which insures many of the state’s school district.

Sure you might get to file a claim. But do they know that you didn’t get infected at the gas station, the gym, the grocery store, the church or a parking lot?

One workman’s compensation advocate, Mike Beste, told the Mercury that if teachers choose to go back to work, there aren’t a likely to be a lot of protections. Kathy Beery, an official for Virginia Educators Unit, said that the issue is a major frustration.

Some Republican legislators are also trying to add more lawyers of insurance protections for the school districts but not the teachers. “Too many school districts are having to make decisions based off the fear of litigation,” said Republican Sen. Jill. Vogel of Fauquier.

Well, there you have it, Kerry and Jim. More evidence that teachers are selfish, fearful, and otherwise not worth it. Teachers Unions are dangerous. Teachers deserve low pay and if they get COVID 19 and don’t get workers comp. That’s just too bad. We’ll get to Fawell and the Danger of Marxist Professors later.

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67 responses to “School Teachers Get Virus? Too Damned Bad!

  1. Hmmm, a dead soldier in Afghanistan will net his survivors $250,000 in benefits**. A dead teacher? They won’t even get a flag.

    ** it may cost Russia a couple of $K…

    Hey Pete! Some editing required here. The flames of indignation are apparent in errant keystrokes. Pull it back up, clean it up, and repost.

  2. Peter,
    Are you sure that teacher unions are accurately relaying their members’ sentiments accurately to school boards and the public? For example, State Senator Dunnavant referenced a survey of Henrico teachers indicating that almost 92% of them wanted to return to in person teaching this fall. It would seem that the survey would be more accurate than social media noise. I know that Senator Dunnavant is not a member of your party, but I don’t think that she would lie about the survey.

  3. So…almost every cop/firefighter/EMT has worked through COVID-19 since mid-March. Very few, if any, in Virginia have received hazard pay.

    These people are paid through local taxes just like teachers.

    Cops and EMS workers are in much greater danger of contracting COVID-19 in the scenarios that they deal with (going into strange homes in which no one may be wearing PPE). But they do it, and I didn’t see any “organizing” or complaining at local gov’t meetings across Virginia.

    But teachers, who get to work in a controlled environment, act as if they’re going to walk into a classroom, immediately contract the virus, and keel over dead.

    I sure hope that local governments remember this at budget time in the Spring of 2021. Cut the school budget viciously. Teachers make more than cops/fire/EMS, get placed on an automatic raise system (step system), and get a guaranteed 3 months off a year. But when asked to perform the slightest inconvenience….”Hell no!”…..whereas the first responders go in every day and don’t complain. And, no, cops and fire/EMS don’t have any magic powers or training that make them less likely to get COVID-19.

    Again…teachers are playing a dangerous game here. Go to any message board (not just the right wing ones) and you see more and more parents realizing that public schools are 80-90% child care and 10-20% learning. If public schools don’t offer in-person in 2020-2021, the classrooms might be well below capacity in September 2021 as more and more parents do something different. And then, when schools’ ADM drops like a stone, they’ll get large cuts from the state…

    • “So…almost every cop/firefighter/EMT has worked through COVID-19 since mid-March. Very few, if any, in Virginia have received hazard pay.”

      Wait, so it’s the teachers’ fault these guys’ unions weren’t smart enough to demand it?

    • I would also question the # of hours worked *online* in Zoom or other contact with kids that was face to face exactly like in regular times. I’d also check to see whether or not they are quarentining at home or asking others to be out and about without quarentine.

  4. Peter, Peter, Peter…
    The average Virginia Teacher make $57,741 annually, but annually for teachers is between 190 and 200 work days while workers in the private sector work 260 days, and many of them without benefits.

    And look at the working conditions…almost a perfect environment. And because they want to be considered “professionals,” they are exempt.

    The simple solution: give parents a choice, put their mush-heads in school, or do it virtually, either way, require the teachers be in their classrooms. And check out President Trump’s latest proposal: grant money from the Feds are to follow the students. If the schools don’t open and the parents choose private or Charter schools the money follows.

    • That might be 190-200 workdays on paper, but, if you figure in nights and weekends grading papers, preparing lesson plans, helping out with extracurricular activities (newspaper, plays, concerts, etc.), it work out much closer, if not exceed, the 260 days for the private sector.

      • totally bogus claim. Anyone who has been at home with a teacher in the evening knows the truth and this is the kind of thing that affects teachers attitudes towards those who hold these “opinions”.

        The folks who teach – for a career – are not in it for the easy workload.

        One season with a brat and “conferences” with his obnoxious parents would end that job for many. You cannot believe how some folks act. Well, yeah you can……

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        Great teachers live and breathe the profession. Mr. Dick is right. I read a nice letter about the teachers of Freeman HS that illustrate this. I must say I have worked with a truckload of teachers that simply punched in and punched out year after year. Never spectacular educators, always doing just enough to keep the heat off, and getting paid for substandard performance. Hard to get rid of too. I know. As a department chair I was stuck with a lot of luggage that just would not work hard. Not just paid, most who work this way can game the system right to a pension. That’s the way it works.
        https://richmond.com/opinion/letters-to-editor/cod-july-26-2020-freeman-grad-defends-keeping-schools-name/article_231bd592-9125-54bf-b71d-3f3e47945e65.html

        • like other professions, there are good, bad and ugly – but I have known some pretty good teachers in my life – and I respect them as teachers and as people. They are not dumb. They are, as they say, “educated” and they care a lot about education and when they tell me that something concerns them – I do believe them.

          That’s makes it really hard to impugn them as a profession – it’s sorta like using a shotgun to make a point.

          One of the things I am hearing from the ones that I do know is that they do not feel confidence that there is a plan for testing and dealing with what happens if teachers do get infected. They don’t want guarantees, but they do want to do know if there is a plan and there does not seem to be a nominal approach. Each school seems to be on their own with regard to testing and for that matter what the plan is if covid19 does hit a school. And that’s what caused some schools to pull back… they could not develop a plan they could stand behind and guarantee that they’d do.

          The lack of that – undermines trust in those who staff the schools and it should.

  5. Peter, I might have responded to your post, but the opinions you ascribe to me are so unrecognizable that I really don’t see the point.

    • https://richmond.com/opinion/columnists/siobhan-dunnavant-kirk-cox-and-carrie-coyner-column-reopening-virginias-schools-requires-shifting-to-how/article_2dce2e95-72fd-5288-b71d-ab9b0416084d.html

      For another POV, I highly recommend the guest column in this morning’s RTD from three state GOP legislators — a medical doc, lifetime public school teacher, and former school board member. Sbostian mentioned it, too.

      “In fact, we have demonstrated we can have adults and children together safely, as thousands of Virginia children have been in child care throughout the entire shutdown.

      “While essential businesses have remained open this entire time, and other businesses are bringing more people back to work, our public schools remain closed. Education is essential.”

      And again, for months and months, I’ve been saying this is all a push for workers comp and disability payments for a widespread infectious disease spreading everywhere, not just the workplace. Peter and the Mercury have confirmed my suspicions. Over time that is way more valuable than temporary hazard pay.

    • Maybe it’s time for a Civilian Teachers Corps (CTC) made up of volunteers. I assume you’re degreed.

      Or, you could protest on the streets. Wear camoes.

      • Just as I’m sure you’re going to voluntarily contribute to a teacher hazard pay fund without being taxed? Correct?

        Your public spiritedness surely extends to making sure the poor, poor teachers being exposed to the 21st century’s version of a coal mine will receive adequate compensation beyond your local and state tax bill? Please share when you make a four figure contribution to a local fund established to accept voluntary contributions for teacher hazard pay.

        • No. I expect the State to do EXACTLY what any industry would do… call Lincoln Life, or Met Life, arrange for insurance, and pay some percentage of the premium, which yes, they will hike a tax to cover.

          Besides, if you and Steve are so damned right that teachers cannot get this from their students, should be cheap enough, or will never be collected on.

  6. Human perception of risk is such that we accept large risks, that we agree to take, such as driving. smoking, etc. In my personal case as a chemical engineer, I accepted the life-long risk of being intimately close to chemicals/emissions as an occupational hazard.

    On the other hand, risks that we do not agree with, we view as horrendous outrage no mater how small, even near-zero, perceived risk is a grave social injustice to those who do not agree to accept the risk.

    I plan to explore the environmental justice topic in a future half-done article.

    • This is 100% accurate.

    • This might not be the right article to post the following commentary. However, since there are quite a few commenters here who advocate stopping normal human activity for an indeterminate period of time in response to the fear of COVID 19, it seems appropriate. I hope everyone here agrees that COVID 19 is not of the same level of danger as bubonic plague, Spanish Influenza or even the Cold War nuclear threat. However, it seems that the fear levels are higher.

      CS Lewis had something interesting to say about living under the threat of nuclear war:

      In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

      In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty. This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

      — “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays

      • Many localities closed their schools during the Spanish Influenza epidemic. https://www.pontiacdailyleader.com/news/20200320/schools-closed-for-weeks-during-spanish-flu-outbreak

        I am not sure what relevance the Cold War nuclear threat has to this discussion. Social distancing, wearing a mask, or opening schools would not have made a difference in the instance of nuclear attack. The fear of a nuclear attack was of something potential; COVID is more than potential, it is present and people are getting seriously ill and many are dying. Something present is a lot scarier than something that theoretically could happen.

        • The level fear provoked by COVID is completely out of proportion to its objective danger. As others have noted here before, the 1958 and 1968 Influenza pandemic were more lethal (on a population adjusted basis) and the societal responses were considerably less extreme. The contemporary tolerance for risk is lower, and the fear of death is greater than any period in American history. Face it – COVID is in no respect an existential risk. Our societal attitude toward risk is the salient issue.

          • that’s clearly an opinion and not shared by others. You’re essentially dissing teachers here… It’s easier to win arguments with reason and understanding than poking folks in the eyes and saying “so what”.

            You want teachers to take another look at this? You won’t get there attacking them and their concerns.

            This is not rocket science… but the critics don’t seem to care… which makes me think – they don’t and have other motivations political anyhow.

            We can’t get there if people are just going to be ugly and hateful.

        • “I am not sure what relevance the Cold War nuclear threat has to this discussion. ”

          Well, I reread “On the Beach”.

    • Eric the Half a Troll

      “In my personal case as a chemical engineer, I accepted the life-long risk of being intimately close to chemicals/emissions as an occupational hazard.”

      In your case there are strict regulations on your employer that requires them to not just protect you from those hazards but also to monitor your health to make sure you aren’t accidentally exposed. On top of this, if you are exposed and your health is impacted, you have the right to sue your employer if they are at fault and have the right to make a workman’s comp claim against your employers policy. The author simply seeks those same protections for teachers.

  7. Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy finishing their third (or junior) year in the Spring of 1942 were in for a surprise. The Navy decided they were smart enough to graduate without a fourth (or senior) year. They were handed diplomas and sent off to fight in WWII. I’ll get back to this in a minute.

    Peter’s article, give or take some of the personalized attacks, is constructive. What needs to be done to get the teachers back into the classrooms? While the left has translated their Trump Derangement Syndrome into anti-American rhetoric the fact of the matter is that resurgences of the COVID-19 outbreak are happening all over the world. It seems a cycle of lockdowns and re-openings will be the order of the day for some time to come.

    Are we now at the negotiation stage with teachers? If so, that’s progress. Here are some ideas:

    1. Don’t teachers already get paid sick days and medical insurance? What’s the advantage of workman’s comp? Given that the Federal government is spending trillions in COVID-19 relief would some more money for in-class teachers who test positive really be that hard to imagine?

    2. What percent of the rank-and-file teachers really want to teach from home? Shouldn’t there be a vote of all teachers in a given public school district? Ditto for parents? If a lot of parents don’t want to send their kids back to school – do we really have a problem with a hybrid approach?

    3. Back to the USNA Class of 1943, the “Warrior Class” as it is called … Aren’t the students getting their undergraduate and graduate degrees in education “smart enough” given our circumstances? Roll back the retirement age for teachers allowing older and more vulnerable teachers to take early retirement and bring in the ed students.

    4. I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the efficacy of distance learning based on last Spring (including teachers and students). The responses were not promising. 25 – 50% effective. However, this is very qualitative. Are there any serious studies as to the effectiveness of last Spring’s distance learning efforts? Any reason to be optimistic that this Fall will bring a materially more effective program?

    5. Maybe teachers who stay home should get paid less while teachers who come to school get paid more.

    6. I think Trump’s plan to provide more federal funds per pupil for those pupils in school vs those learning over the internet makes good sense. This could help pay face-to-face teachers more and offset some of the safety costs schools must implement to teach any students in class.

    This has become an “all or nothing” debate. I don’t know why. Fairfax County’s original plan to use a hybrid approach made good sense to me. It was announced by the Superintendent. Parents signed up for their preference of hybrid or at-home. Then … it was canceled. Why? Just a few squeaky wheels in the union / association?

    • “The trainee at the university is under a dual obligation . The first to fulfil his responsibility as a member of the armed forces and second to fulfill his responsibility as a member of the student body of the University of Southern California.”

      Captain Reed M. Fawell, USN in the USC 1944 yearbook “El Rodeo,” (who established the NROTC program at USC, and commanded it during WW2).

      “In 1944, battles raged in the South Pacific as the Americans and Allies gained foothold after bloody foothold in the push toward Japan. In the European theatre, the Allies had moved from North Africa north into Italy and were fighting from village to village on the march against the Axis forces. On D-Day of that year, the Allies would launch the greatest land invasion in history to retake the continent. U.S. war strategists, looking ahead, secretly set Oct. 1, 1945 as the day the Allied forces would invade the Japanese mainland, at the estimated cost of millions of lives.

      At home young men awaited their orders and their fates. The University of Southern California 1944 yearbook “El Rodeo” reveals the stark reality of that World War II year. Male students in photos of dormitory hall residents, clubs, professional honorary organizations and fraternities wear military uniforms. Some are Navy, some Army, some Marines.

      They look proud. What did they see in their future but duty and obligation? How many of them had to squelch their civilized nature to engage in life or death fighting? How many of them returned to the United States to fulfill their academic and professional promise? How many of them died in the snow at the Battle of the Bulge or on a rocky beach at Peleliu?

      For all their youth, they look like men.

      Male students disappeared regularly from campus residences as they shipped out for training and deployment. “Losing more men to ‘boot camp’ than any other platoon, the final platoon in Williams was considerably undersized as the semester drew to a close,” says the copy under a picture of Company 7, Platoon 3 of Navy residence Williams Hall. “Composed of many future Navy pilots, as well as deck officer candidates, the 3rd was led by Ralph Starkweather, who had such drill experts as Larry Alexander, Jack Doerr and Joe Barish under his wing.”

      The Marine detachment at USC, the book says, “had shrunk at the end of three semesters from nearly 300 members to a mere 135.”

      The fraternities struggled to keep their houses open as members moved to the campus military barracks or shipped out. Several of the fraternity buildings became residences for women students, who were a substantial percentage of the students on campus.

      The Chi Phi fraternity “… this year remained on campus despite the loss of 100 members to the armed forces.”

      Delta Sigma Phi “has continued operating in their house on the ‘row’ in spite of wartime handicaps. The house has proved a welcoming for many Delta Sigs on leave from the army and navy.”

      For the Kappa Sigma fraternity, “The coming of war wrote a duration finis to much of the old Kappa Sig tradition. The chapter house was converted into a women’s dorm shortly after the last brothers left.” The fraternity then held their meetings at the student union.

      The Phi Sigma Kappas “moved from their house to various barracks on campus.”

      Medical and dental students were in the military. Thirty-two of the 36 members of the Trojan men’s glee club were also in uniform.

      Before completion of the yearbook, the government called editors LaMarr Stewart and Tyler MacDonald to active duty. The staff carried on, apologizing for any mistakes made “under the stress of wartime shortages.”

      USC won the Jan. 1, 1944 Rose Bowl 29-0 against a depleted University of Washington Huskies team, which had lost a dozen players to active duty, including two of their best players. Both teams were from the Pacific Coast Conference due to wartime travel restrictions that kept east coast teams away.”

      For more, see: See: https://www.theloopnewspaper.com/story/2019/11/09/local-news/university-yearbook-1944/6113.html

    • Ah, USNA… in 1966, maybe 7, the Commandant issued weapons and live ammunition to the 1st Class Middies who manned to walls during civil rights demonstrations in Annapolis.

  8. Just spitballing, back of the envelope kinda calculating.

    Lemme see, figuring the average car has $10K value, average comprehensive insurance costs $24/month, odds of theft is 1 in 450 and poses the greatest risk, i.e., greatest loss with high probability, so maybe $15/month just to cover a $10K theft loss… yeah sure. Close enough.

    Now, Virginia. 2000 Covid deaths with a population of, say, 8 million… 1 in 4,000 odds. One tenth that of having your car stolen…

    Gee, should be able to cover a teacher for $100,000 against Covid death for about $15/month, no? Peanuts.

    Open ’em up!

    Warning: the “chop shop” profits are not included.

  9. There’s something I haven’t seen addressed much, if any, in these threads. I could have missed it because I haven’t used a nit comb. I think it is pertinent to consider the increasing body of scientific knowledge on the long-term and/or permanent damage to heart, lungs, brains and other organs and useful body parts wreaked by covid-19.

    Arguments here seem to be based on the huge number of infections compared to the relatively small number of deaths. I’d put some emphasis on “relatively” because a lot of people are dying. But increasingly in this new and fast-moving medical-health catastrophe, long-and-longer-term debilitating illnesses are being seen in significantly high percentages of cases. Significant percentages.

    So to my eye, many of you are promoting an experiment that potentially carries a huge amount of risk, and you’re doing so on-the-fly. I get it: you’re scared the free-market economy will be destroyed. Millions more disabled people in our ranks won’t help it much.

    There’s not a lot of trust here. Just this week Trump in effect turned on some red-state governrors who’d heeded his commands to re-open, overruling their own scientific advisors. As a result, the contagion moves like prairie fires, causing Trump’s poll numbers to tank and, as a result, Kellyanne Conway and Trump himself have now said that some of those governors opened too fast, too soon.

    Did that set your head to spinning? Mine is.
    People are watching. They’re scared.

    • Terry,
      Respectfully, we are in the middle of the largest social science experiment in the history of the world. The fear driven, reductionist approach to “the virus crisis” proceeds as if nothing else really matters and collateral damage doesn’t merit serious consideration. We have adopted public health strategies that have no historical precedent and equate public health to Coronavirus issues only.

      In an age when freedom meant more, we would provide individuals, families and businesses as much information as possible and let them use it to make their own choices. That does not seem to be on the table this time around.

      • The key to Terry’s great concern and scientific analysis in found in his sentence: “Just this week Trump in effect turned on some red-state governrors who’d heeded his commands to re-open, overruling their own scientific advisors. As a result, the contagion moves like prairie fires …”

    • To answer your question, this is a Conservative Virginia website, so to quote the great philosopher, Pete Townsend, “Put on your eye shades, put in your earplugs, you know where to put the cork.”

  10. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    A grand total of 57 school teachers died in the US in 2018 and 2017.
    https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.t03.htm

  11. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    In England and Wales 26 teachers died from COVID out of 450,000 educators.
    March 9th- April 20th. Study claims it could be higher because they did not tabulate teachers over the age of 65.
    https://www.tes.com/news/coronavirus-revealed-least-26-teachers-have-died-covid-19

  12. For a balanced view of the subject, read “Reopened schools in Europe and Asia have largely avoided coronavirus outbreaks. They have lessons for the U.S.” by Michael Birnbaum in the Washington Post.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/schools-reopening-coronavirus/2020/07/10/865fb3e6-c122-11ea-8908-68a2b9eae9e0_story.html

    The workman’s comp issue raised here is a red herring. If workman’s comp won’t pay, the group insurance policies that protect school employees in every school district will.

    We can’t hold school reopening hostage to school employees with physical conditions that put them at greater risk. Employees with proof of such conditions can be allowed to opt out temporarily from classroom instruction and assigned administrative tasks to the degree that there are open positions. Current administrators with classroom experience temporarily can take their positions in classrooms to open up jobs for them.

    Public employees always have the freedom to resign. They do not have the freedom in Virginia to strike.

    As Virginia law dictates, public employees who do not resign and refuse to work as designated by the government must be fired.

    The law is not an attack on the teaching profession or any other public employee group, just a political decision that public employees in Virginia essential to the functioning of government services are not allowed to strike.

    The Democrats who control the executive and legislative branches can change the law if they can muster the votes to do so and get the Governor’s signature. But they have not.

  13. So you sorta know there is something going on when 91% of Henrico teachers say they want to return and the Fairfax teachers are accused of being treasonous scum…

    eh?

  14. Right, Larry. I have cleaned up the post. Was late for a tennis patch the morning. Did not win

  15. Sorry Nancy

    • For what? Abandoning me to the clutches of these pinball wizards?

      Pickleball? Tennis? In this heat? Mad dogs and displaced Italians…. and Larry.

  16. early morns Nancy – buck up…

  17. I am retired and now live in Hanover County. I have a granddaughter entering kindergarten this fall. I am also a substitute teacher for the county, a little something I’ve done in the past on a limited basis, just to stay in touch with education at the ground level. I previously subbed in Chesterfield and Henrico.

    Hanover is now offering the option for parents to allow their students to attend in person or to opt for all on-line instruction. I think this is a sensible and practical choice and I hope Hanover sticks to it, but I’m afraid the pressure of arguments found in this post and the comments will cause the Hanover School Board to reverse course and go all virtual when they open. We’ll see.

    Hanover recently contacted their substitutes to get a sense of how many were willing to teach in person, work in only an on-line capacity, or do both. That survey brought the theoretical to the real world for me. As I am more in the Kerry Daugherty/James Bacon camp when it comes to the theoretical, I signed up for in-person instruction. If needed, I will sub much more than I would have planned pre-Covid 19. If there’s no subbing, I’ll volunteer to the extent it will be allowed.

    I think it is incredibly important for students, parents and the economy to have in-person instruction and I believe the risk level is low with masks, social distancing and other safety precautions, so I’m going to do what little I can to make it work. I hope I’ll be standing six feet away from teachers who know how important and valued their presence will be.

    • Thanks much for your real-world perspective!

      I think more than a few teachers feel this way – but the big caveat is what happens if a teacher gets COVID19? what’s the plan?

      More to the point, if a teacher gets COVI19 what are the other teachers going to do? will there be testing?

      what happens if there is more than one teacher – an outbreak?

      I’m asking what the plan is – not whether someone believes it’s theoretically possible.

      If we don’t have a plan – and it happens – is anyone going to be surprised what happens next?

    • Despite what Kerry and Jim might say the risk is very real for folks in a vulnerable group such as yourself. I am a retired public school teacher now on Medicare and personally I would not want to take the risk of returning to the classroom this fall. I want to be able to continue to see my grandchildren both during, with precautions, and after this pandemic. Three summer school teachers in Missouri were sharing a room to teach online courses and all three became infected. They took all the appropriate safety measures while still becoming ill and one did pass away. Unfortunately, six feet away and with a mask is not always going to be enough. I don’t know how many more years the Lord has in store for me but I intend to do all that I can to take advantage of them.

      • James Wyatt Whitehead V

        35% of Virginia’s teaching work force is over the age of 50. Many of them are the best and most beloved teachers. It is a shame that a great number of them are sidelined perhaps for good.

  18. Forget pickleball. It is a recipe for broken ankles and wrists.

  19. Lack of workman’s comp is a red herring? This is about lost wages and not health insurance coverage. Many Covid infections involve a long period with symptoms combined with a 14 day isolation after the symptoms disappear. The 10 days of sick leave for teachers would not do much to cover such a period of illness and many teachers have only a small amount of annual leave to fall back on. Hence, they would be looking at leave without pay. This is without even considering the possible need for leave for family illness, emergencies, or when there are two teachers in the family. What happens when a teacher is exposed to someone who tests positive and then has to self-isolate? Will the district provide that teacher leave to cover the period of self-isolation? There are so many questions and very few answers.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I retired from education this year. 27 years. I accumulated 795 hours of sick leave. I worked 12 contract years in a row without taking a single day off. I could have missed 113 days of school before my leave was exhausted. Then there is the sick bank to draw from, hours donated from other teachers, then there is that Family Medical Care Act. If you don’t abuse the sick day system you should have ample hours to cover illness. The problem is teachers use them as soon as they get them. Sometimes legit, sometimes a paid day off.

      • I know a teacher who went 34 years and many a year he/she did not take a single day.

        When someone says she is a leftist union hack who does not want to work – he takes umbrage. Multiply that by a few…

  20. The thing with the critics is that they act like they could care less about the concerns of teachers.

    They characterize the teachers as leftists and union members..who are doing this to frustrate those who want the schools to re-open.

    If the critics demanded with the same vigor that schools and teachers be supported with testing and help if they got infected – it would change the dynamics.

    So why not? That tells us a lot about the motivations of the critics and it’s ain’t really about the kids or the teachers.

  21. Yep. They trash away but have no idea of what they are dealing with. Have they ever been in a classroom? Other states value their teachers. Virginia does not.

    • Private school teachers across the nation don’t seem to be having these same concerns…Every private school that I am aware of in Central Virginia is reopening for in-person classes for five days a week.

      When you wonder why we have a 10/90 society, look around RVA. The kids at St. Chris are going to be going to school 5 days a week…meanwhile 30 to 40% of City of Richmond kids will not learn a thing from “distance learning” this entire semester. This is simply a recipe for even greater inequality in our society.

      • Private schools generally have much smaller classes and can send any kids home that won’t behave, wear their masks or social distance.

        And we don’t know what precautions these schools are taking.

        Large school systems with hundreds, even thousands of kids are one school are very different from private schools.

        ‘Just one situation – when school buses show up – all those kids disembark into one big mass of kids.

        Some say “stagger” the buses. Consider this – the buses pick by geography – all classes. Are you not going to pick them all up when the bus comes to their house – and only some by class then come back again for the next class?

        There’s no way to really “stagger” the buses.

  22. Responding to Larry,

    “that’s clearly an opinion and not shared by others. You’re essentially dissing teachers here… It’s easier to win arguments with reason and understanding than poking folks in the eyes and saying “so what”.”

    First, I am not dissing teachers and you knew that when you posted your drivel of a response. I try hard to deal respectfully with you on this forum, but you make it very hard. If your posts here accurately reflect your thinking, it is almost impossible assume that you have any scientific literacy. You simply fling unsubstantiated pronouncements without even the pretense of of evidence. You impugn the motives of anyone here who dares disturb your comfort in a cocoon of ignorance. Sadly, I have ignored the advice of longterm participants here to avoid engagement with you. Perhaps I will be wiser in the future.

    • I’m looking at the dialogue towards teachers here…and it’s ugly and disrespectful towards them. It’s not about science at all. It’s about how we treat each other on issues like this.

      I’m not impugning motives but words that are being used towards teachers and public education.

      You can take all the “advice” you want from some participants – and if you don’t find the exchange productive -then do what I do – just skip down to the next post and ignore the ones you don’t like.

    • Sbostian – if you took it personally – I would apologize. I’m clearly frustrated with the criticism of teachers these days.

  23. Saint Larry the G, the long time, ever loyal Miss Manners of Bacon’s Rebellion, advises newcomer sbostian: “You can take all the “advice” you want from some participants – and if you don’t find the exchange productive – then do what I do – just skip down to the next post and ignore the ones you don’t like.”

    It just takes one’s breath away!

    • Oh I forgot… Reed thinks BR is like Survivor and wants to take votes so perhaps team up with Reed!

      Maybe ya’ll can get a vote going!

      😉

    • So much for Larry’s advice to sbostian, “then do what I do – just skip down to the next post and ignore the ones you don’t like.”

  24. CRE . Gee must be nice to be rich.

    • Peter,

      I am simply pointing out that when we complain about how “uneven” our society has become…this Fall is one of the reasons. I don’t think there’s anyone who seriously believes that virtual is even close to in-person in terms of learning outcomes. So, if St. Christopher’s kids gain a year and a half on their public school counterparts in terms of mastering material, we can’t complain down the road when those kids are making a lot more money in an economy that values cognitive ability.

      I am sorry, but I personally believe we’re sacrificing black and brown children’s education and futures with these decisions. My own guess is that we’re not going to have an available vaccine before the late spring of 2021. So…we are likely to go a full year of public schools going virtual. On top of March-June 2020. I have a hard time believing the children with the toughest path to begin with are going to ever overcome a year and a half without in-person learning. Especially the elementary students where you learn the most. So….again…we can’t complain in 2040 when those St. Christopher’s kids are hoovering up the dollars and the RPS grads are even further behind economically. We are exacerbating class and racial inequity with the virtual schooling decision….but let’s be candid: we are making the conscious decision to do this in public schools.

      I’m not trying to have a flame war. I’m simply pointing out that we better be ready for an even more uneven distribution of wealth in the future with the private/public school divide on in-person and virtual learning.

      • Worst case – kids end up a year behind, not a lifetime.

        But I’d ask – what about tutors for kids or tutors from small groups of kids?

        ” What we need is between $150 billion and $200 billion in investments in schools across the country right now. If we really want to get schools open in August and September, we would do that today. Yesterday. And that would be additional PPE — that’s additional cleaning supplies, it’s additional custodians, if you need that. And I would love to see a massive, massive tutoring program. I would love to see hundreds of thousands of tutors hired to help those kids catch up, whether that’s physically, virtually, or hybrid.” Arne Duncan

        https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/arne-duncan-on-the-shaky-plan-for-reopening-american-schools.html

        We should be looking for different ways to go forward.

        If we can give money to bail out companies – why not kids?

  25. Mr. Whitehead
    I do presume that you were able to sell back about 500 of those 795 hours of sick leave. This provision motivates many teachers to accumulate sick leave when possible. Unfortunately, many teachers do have to use their sick leave due to an accident, illness, or to care for a family member. This is particularly true for those with an underlying medical condition many of which need to continue to work in order to maintain health insurance. I am glad that you were blessed enough to avoid these circumstances. There is a cap on the sick leave bank and not every teacher chooses to join it during the periodic enrollment periods. I am not aware of the Family Medical Care Act or under what circumstances it would apply.

    • Might perhaps from time to time teachers cheat? For example, use their unused sick leave for non sick reasons, for example extra time with the mistress, or for fishing?

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Mr. Banford sick leave payout is capped at 13 grand. I left a huge pile of money on the table, at least for a school teacher. I actually liked the job, I was healthy, and I felt guilty as sin for taking any time off. Most teachers use it because they are going to lose it.

      • I would admit that in the months leading up to my retirement I did attempt to use some of the sick leave that I would be losing. This often meant taking the whole day for a medical appointment instead of the partial day that I would take in the past.

  26. Mr. Fawell
    You may be thinking about mental health days which fishing would be good for. Teachers can’t afford mistresses which appear to perhaps be more prevalent with members of your profession.

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