As some of you may have heard, an epidemic of coronavirus has finally reached the rich and powerful in Washington, D.C. One infected soul (or soul-less?) is Donald J. Trump, age 74. The progress of his COVID-19 encounter mesmerized Americans, but I never saw any coverage of people concerned about deaths or serious long-term health consequences for the under-70 politicians and staff. From this can we infer that Americans don’t think that COVID-19 is hazardous for those under-70? (Maskachusetts removed the age-related statistics from its dashboard in mid-August, but the memories may linger!)
On the other hand, we are informed that schools have to be kept closed to protect students. When science deniers object that no person under 20 has ever died from/with COVID-19 here in MA, for example, the School Shutdown Karen shifts gears to say that it is, in fact, teachers who have to be protected. But unionized public school teachers can retire with full inflation-adjusted pension benefits and unlimited health insurance when they’re in their 50s. So there shouldn’t actually be anyone over 70 in a school building.
How to explain the apparent logical discrepancy?
Some background from the Official Newspaper of the Shutdown Karens, “‘I Don’t Want to Go Back’: Many Teachers Are Fearful and Angry Over Pressure to Return” (NYT, July):
“I want to serve the students, but it’s hard to say you’re going to sacrifice all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and bus drivers,” said Hannah Wysong, a teacher at the Esperanza Community School in Tempe, Ariz., where virus cases are increasing.
On social media, teachers across the country promoted the hashtag #14daysnonewcases, with some pledging to refuse to enter classrooms until the coronavirus transmission rate in their counties falls, essentially, to zero.
From Mini Mike, “Teachers Sue to Keep Schools Shut as Parents Demand They Reopen” (Bloomberg, July):
The Florida Education Association, a group of teachers unions, filed suit Monday to block an emergency order to reopen schools next month despite a spike in coronavirus infections. Meanwhile, a lawsuit in New York is seeking to ensure that schools there aren’t closed for the fall term.
On the other end of the argument, a woman and her two children in Brooklyn last week filed suit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is still deciding whether to allow schools to reopen this fall. The suit claims the state’s order to keep schools shut thus far and offer only online instruction is unconstitutional because it leads to disparate treatment for students with special needs.
From North Carolina, this month, “Wake teachers warn board that reopening schools will put people at risk of dying” (they don’t have “Woke teachers” like we do here in the Boston suburbs?):
“It’s heartbreaking for me as a teacher because I want to see my students so badly in person, and they’re really struggling,” said Ginny Clayton, a teacher at Cary High School. “But that’s not the criteria for coming back to school — it’s safety. We ultimately have to do what’s right by our kids by keeping them safe.”
“Every meeting should be about getting our kids back into school,” said Christine Hale, a Wake parent. “Nothing should be more important to the Board of Education than education.
The board’s decision to reopen schools has angered many teachers, especially because the majority of principals wanted to continue having online classes for students in fourth through eighth grades for the rest of the semester.
Readers: If teachers aged 22-57 have a significant risk of dying from COVID-19, as the teacher unions say, why didn’t we see a lot of stories about people concerned regarding the health of Melania Trump (age 50)? From the NYT:
Many of these political brothers/sisters/binary resisters appear to be roughly the same age (or beyond) as a senior school teacher. Why aren’t the people who want to keep schools shut concerned for their well-being in the face of the killer coronavirus?
Afternoon update, from a school in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, “Keep Our Learners Safe”:
The adults are altruistically keeping the children safe from a disease that has never killed anyone their age in their state (nor in Maskachusetts, through mid-August when the statistics began to be withheld). Full post, including comments