Stay put, we’re told, and practice social distancing, and yet…
While in Miami and speaking to Reuters, Brady Sluder said, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”
And he is not alone in his cavalier, entitlement mentality, as a recent Gallup panel suggests:
- 80% of American adults have avoided crowded events;
- 58% have steered clear of stores and/or restaurants;
- 45% have refrained from seeing family or friends.
And that’s not enough, says pandemics expert and founder of New England Complex Systems Yaneer Bar-Yum: “The fastest and even the only way to contain COVID-19 in the United States is a five-week national shutdown.”
We’ve already topped the 100,000 mark in confirmed cases, surpassing both China’s and Italy’s numbers, even as our K-12 schools do their part.
Indeed, regularly checking school closure numbers, Ballotpedia finds that, as of March 27:
- 5 states have already ended their school year;
- 3 have ordered local closures;
- The remaining states have closed their schools.
All told, some 49,478, 327 K-12 students are now housebound.
And we all lose as a result.
Writes Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk, “Schools are the centers of communities. They provide indispensable student-welfare services…”
- Schools provide free or discounted lunches to more than 20 million children, free breakfast to more than 12 million, with more than one million participating in after-school supper programs.
- Researchers find that “while high-quality educational screen content is associated with better language skills, more overall time on screens each day, regardless of its quality, is linked to lower language development. That includes TV, video games, social media, etc., right there along with online learning.
- AP students must now take their end-of-year exams on home computers, tablets, or phones. According the College Board, each will last just 45 minutes and cover only the topics and skills presented by early March. Two dates will be offered for each exam.
At the same time, educators everywhere are scrambling to transition to online instruction—and so are parents, trying to work from home, keep the peace, and homeschool all at once.
“The experience side of school is totally on hold,” says Sandy Addis, associate director of the National Dropout Prevention Center.
Moreover, writes Education Week’s Benjamin Herold: “… At a national level, the effort has been chaotic and uneven, with schools running into enormous barriers as they attempt to use technology to keep the country’s public education system up and running. Messages from state and federal authorities—about how long the closures may last, whether schools can require online classwork, and what will become of state requirements around instructional time—have often been contradictory and quick to change…”
More bad news:
Of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, $30.75 billion is earmarked for the U.S. Department of Education’s emergency relief funds. Of those dollars, $13.5 billion has been set aside for K-12 emergency relief grants, plus $3.5 billion for governors to distribute locally as needed.
Across the country, those dollars are supposed to cover everything from cleaning and disinfecting supplies and the purchase of 1:1 devices and Internet service to providing, meals, special education, and mental health services.
“While this is a first step forward, we need a lot more resources than what we’re currently getting,” said Chip Slaven, chief advocacy officer for the National School Boards Association.
Best bet: Stay put, take good care of you and yours, laugh often, and contribute any way you can.
In other words, be part of the solution, not the problem.