This an open letter to all Wallkill school parents that are fed up with the lack of say in what is going on in our education system. Like many of you I have been frustrated with what has happened with our children and school since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having repeatedly called State and local officials with no or limited response is a problem. Only our superintendent has been kind enough to respond to questions and or concerns. This frustration has continued to grow as the state, county and school officials have continued to ignore the science and concerns of the parents and kept our children locked out of in person learning. This was magnified for me personally when I received my $10,000 school tax bill recently. My personal feeling is that as parents the only way the bureaucrats that are controlling our children’s lives and ours as well is to either prorate the amount of tax we pay based on services offered or not pay the tax at all till we get more of a say in determining if we can have our children in school five days a week.
I know many of you live in fear of this virus based on what you read and watch and may want to keep your children home and if that is the case you should have that option. But we need to keep some things in mind.
To date as many as 80 million children have been out of school due to Covid-19 related issues. Based on science and data children ages 5-14 are 7x more likely to die of influenza vs Covid-19. Children 1-4 are 20x more likely. Overall people under 25 represent .015 percent of total Covid deaths nationally. For children 5-14 worldwide the risk of death from Covid-19 is 1 in 2.5 million. Only 28 children age 1-15 have died from Covid-19.
Also the low rate of hospitalization for children supports the reopening of schools. Science shows that there is also a low risk of children transmitting Covid-19 to adults. We have had bad flu pandemics, last year, but when was the last time we closed schools for the flu, did we not care about our children’s mortality then? In countries that have opened schools or continued to stay open shows that children did not infect the parents. In US schools that have opened see Georgia; Cases are down 30% since the primary spread is in home. Schools have not become hot spots since opening.
So science shows us that the risk of Covid-19 to our children is low, but science also shows that the risk to our children of not being in school has adverse effects to their health as well.
Schools in many other countries; Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore have all reopened to no issues. Many started at 6’ guidance and quickly reduced to 3’ and then to none at all.
Last year virtual learning was a joke. And at least for me day one this year has proven that the experiment called distance learning continues. This year during a pandemic, an unprecedented time, teachers and administrators have shown no desire to come in early to work through issues or think out of the box on ways to educate our children safely. Everything was about budget, contracts, teachers unions and bureaucrats whose only goal was to advance a political agenda in an election year.
As parents we need a say in the process and options. Currently we are stuck under a one size fits all rule with no options and are being forced into having to make economic choices vs playing teacher.
Let’s talk politics for a minute: School closure nationally has destroyed the child care sector as well as private schools. Unemployment for women is 20% higher than men as they are forced out of the workforce due to their ability to find child care. At least in this state a goal many mayors and legislatures are happy about as they hate private schools. Also of the $17 billion dollars that was allocated for education stabilization by the cares act less than 1% has been spent to help parents or the schools, think about that next school board, mayoral, county executive or governor election. In the end we as parents took our eye off the educational ball, politicians and school administrators saw it and education of our children became a top down, political agenda driven process with people like dignity act coordinators and activists molding our children’s education.”
I hope some of you take this as a call to action and if anyone wants to group some resources and split the cost of tutors and or start a pod email me at email@example.com.