Current Events, Jul 20 - Jul 26

I'll start my post by admitting I'm probably biased because I'm an educator in Texas and I go back to work next week. Our district still has no idea what we are doing because everything is changing last minute based on the federal government, the state government, and the Texas Education Agency. I think last Spring went as well as it could when teachers were asked to go online with about a week's notice. Unfortunately, because people in the government offices are waiting until the last possible minute to make any decisions, students and teachers are going to get screwed again.

I can't speak for all educators, but I am keenly aware of how it impacts my lower SES, my bilingual, and my special education students. I also know that where I live in Texas people are still complaining about wearing masks and fighting it despite the state mandate. Our district has said repeatedly that they are going to require them only as long as the state does, and after that it's up to students and staff to decide for themselves if they wear them.

I also know that one of my coworkers was on a beach in Texas last week and another is in Florida this week. I've watched many of my coworkers share footage of their out-of-state trips on social media this summer or pictures of the meals they are eating at a crowded restaurant or pictures of them with their entire extended family celebrating a birthday/holiday/etc. Many of them have also shared that they don't want to wear masks. I'm scared of - and for - not only my students but also my coworkers.

Social distancing is also not going to happen because there isn't room in the classrooms for it. The buses are putting the windows down - in 100 degree heat in Texas - but are still packing the same number of kids on the buses because there aren't enough drivers to run multiple routes. So that means between 48-72 kids on each bus with the windows down to prevent COVID-19.

I too am scared of how the education gap is going to grow this year. I'd love to sit and hash out a better plan, but the control is mostly out of the school district's hands and in the hands of our governor, state education agency, and the federal agency. And it's hard to see how we find funding to provide adequate PPE or additional bus routes or additional teachers to do social distancing correctly. And if the governor no longer requires the state to wear masks, I fully expect about 40% of our staff and students to not wear them, either (this is just my rough percentage based on the community surveys they've been using to gather input).

I'm frustrated and scared too, but I'd encourage you to get mad at the federal and state government for not providing adequate support to the schools to open safely rather than at the teachers for worrying about their safety and their student's safety.

/r/blogsnark Thread Parent