Reality check

My day job is that of a school librarian for large metro-Atlanta school district. We are the second largest school district in Georgia with almost 18,000 staff serving 113,000 students. Our stated mission is ONE TEAM, ONE GOAL, STUDENT SUCCESS.

Let’s get real. The true mission is to keep schools open at all cost so that parents can have their choice of F2F or virtual learning. The Superintendent and his staff have repeated this over and over. It’s not about student and staff safety. If it were, we would follow the science and remain virtual for another two weeks. No, it’s about keeping a select group of well-heeled parents happy and out of the Superintendent’s hair.

For me, this meant another COVID-19 test today and probably several days next week covering for absent coworkers yet again. It’s getting old! I’m tired of “babysitting” and putting myself at higher risk of bringing the virus home to my immune-comprised husband.

Two more teachers in my district died of COVID-19 complications on Thursday. The lack of empathy demonstrated by the district leadership at the recent school board meeting was disheartening. They seemed more worried about discussing legal matters during Executive Session than addressing the very real worries and fears of their “team” members.

I had an actual in-person doctor visit on Wednesday. What struck me was their ability to prescreen patients and limit the number of visitors at any one time. My private school educator colleagues also have this practice. We do not have this luxury in public schools. We are required to accept all students (raging fever, stomach virus, runny nose and all), refer them to the nurse, then isolate and monitor that sick child until a parent decides to come get them.

Social distancing is a myth in public schools.

Contact tracing seems pointless to me, given the 7-10 day lag time in notifying folks.

Quarantine/isolation rules change from administrator to administrator. Why was the kid who actually had COVID allowed to return to school before his teacher and other close contacts were? Why is one child in a family told to quarantine for 10 days, but not the siblings? One child with COVID closed down 3 classrooms and a bus route after contact tracing. A couple of teachers whose personal children were in those quarantined classrooms also found themselves scrambling for child care or taking leave to be with their own children. It’s a domino effect.

Don’t be surprised by the mass exodus from the teaching ranks come June.