Are There Greater Threats to our
Student's Than CoVid?
"It's all about the students." "Everything we do is about student learning and achieving."
These are the words we use as teachers when it comes to planning our school year when talking with other staff about our purpose and mission in education. As important people in our community of Bakersfield begin to make decisions about the children and students returning to school, I HOPE and EXPECT these people to be making decisions in the best interest of our students. What is the best interest?
In the education world, it has been very clear that we have shifted to "data-driven decision making." All our programs from improving attendance to developing curriculum, to delivering instruction to grading student work, to getting our students developed socially and emotionally to getting our students to walk across the stage with a diploma are DRIVEN by DATA!
Shouldn't data drive the decisions regarding the new coronavirus and how it affects our community now?
If we are truly serious about serving our students, we need to look at the risks of the decisions being made regarding our students and determine what is really the best. Teachers have been compared to law enforcement in that they are much needed public servants who put others' lives above their own. I would argue that teachers and other staff members are first responders in student's lives and should be in the classrooms and for them.
Regarding all these concerns, I encourage our superintendent and school board members to look more closely into these risks our students are facing in the midst of this CoVid Quarantine.
The crazy thing is we NEVER did any of this shutdown or distance learning for the flu virus, which the data shows, to be a worse fast-mutating virus that has killed more people than CoVid. CoVid is a slow mutating virus and the majority of symptoms are less severe for most people than the flu.
As the data comes in, I believe we are going to find that all these threats to our students ARE and WILL be greater than CoVid. For example, in 2018 60% of adults were considered obese. Now it's up to 75% and with this quarantine, the numbers are going to increase. This will extend to our students as well as sitting at home playing video games, battling with depression around no access to physical education classes. We all know the data shows CoVid is worse for unhealthy and unfit people.
Consider some CURRENT threats to our students compared to the risks of getting CoVid:
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increased suicide rate? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increase in child abuse and sexual abuse? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increase in human trafficking? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increase in social-emotional problems that cause our students to run away from home? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increase in anxiety and depression that leads to many other serious health issues? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the idle time that leads to an increase in alcohol, and the many forms of drug use? No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than the increase in overdose on drugs. No!
Is CoVid a greater threat than building relationships with our students and teaching, leading, guiding them into healthy decision making? Absolutely No!
Now when a person contracts the CoVid virus that lasts approximately 2 weeks, here are the common symptoms people have as their body fights the virus. Some people have a couple, some people have more:
3. Body aches/chills
4. Loss of taste/smell
6. Difficulty breathing, chest pressure.
7. Some vomiting, diarrhea
I had the first-hand experience with contracting CoVid. In June 2020, I went to the funeral of a former student and most likely got it there. My symptoms were mild compared to the flu viruses I've had: Coughing, slight fever of 101 degrees, loss of taste and smell. My wife, who has an underlying medical issue also got it from me two days later. Her symptoms were much worse and required urgent care. My 17-year-old son got it 4 days later and his symptoms were less severe than mine. We all recovered in about 14 days.
When I was twenty years younger at age 34, I got the flu and it was twenty times worse than my experience with CoVid. I thought I was going to die: Fever of 104 degrees for 1 week straight, body aches, vomiting/diarrhea, headaches, total loss of strength and energy. If I had a choice of which virus to get, I would choose CoVid based on those experiences. Interestingly, to date, there have been ZERO definitive, documented cases of a person getting CoVid a second time according to the CDC website.
Also to point out, CoVid is highly contagious. It affects people much worse that have existing health conditions and elderly people. The majority of the deaths have been elderly people and unhealthy people. And by the way, the data is not as accurate as we think when it comes to determining if the cause of death was CoVid. The mere idea that financial benefits or reimbursements in medical expenses are attached to the diagnosis of CoVid in patients is alarming.
Where do teachers fit into this first responders' identity? Are they not on the front lines with children? Why are teachers and/or unions requesting to work from home? What would our community say if first responders such as law enforcement, firemen, paramedics, nurses, doctors, medic staff, etc. requested to work from home in order to be safe from CoVid? I don't think this would work out too well for our community. That is why they are equipped with PPE.
It would be curious to see the data how people are catching CoVid. Many of the ones I know did not catch it from their place of employment due to the PPE. These all contracted it from a spouse, or family member, not their place of employment.
Much like the flu, the CoVid virus poses a low threat to the health and lives or students compared to all the other life-threatening ones they are facing right now. Who will speak for our kids?