Teacher’s unions everywhere are freaking out now that Massachusetts schools are being forced to reopen 5 days a week starting April 5. It should’ve been done a long time ago, but the unions and local school committees who are controlled by them made it clear that they were never going reopen on their own, so the state really had no choice.
One of these schools is where I used to teach – Shepherd Hill in Dudley. If was still teaching I would’ve been itching to get back in the classroom months ago, but that’s because I believe in science instead of conspiracy theories, and I realize that COVID has never been a threat to me. More importantly, I’d owe it to the children to give them a quality education, and not deny them the right to have a normal high school experience because I selfishly wanted to avoid an airborne virus with a 99.9% recovery rate. I’d see other states, countries, and private schools running their schools with zero issues, and I would feel a moral duty to teach kids in person. But that’s just me.
Others at Shepherd Hill apparently disagree because 49 teachers (including people I know and respect) signed a petition, demanding that the district hold off on the reopening of the high school on March 15. They cited CDC guidance from February 12 that recommended 6 feet of spacing between each kid, even though just months ago physician Rochelle Walensky, who now heads the CDC, said that only 3 feet was required.
She advised her local school district last summer that “it is quite safe and much more practical to be at 3 feet” as long as everyone is masked.
A study published by the CDC itself at the end of January showed minimal in-school spread with students generally not maintaining six feet of distance. The World Health Organization also agrees – 3 feet is sufficient. After all, we’re basically making this up as we go along anyway.
But in their petition the Shepherd Hill teachers have chosen to only pay attention to the most recent CDC 6 foot rule, while ignoring the WHO, the CDC director herself, and the plethora of other states and countries that don’t follow the 6 foot rule.SHRHS-Petition-22421-1
This is what my classroom, and most classrooms in Shepherd Hill look like.
You can’t space kids 6 feet apart. It’s impossible. But yet we still sent kids to school during the flu season year after year without masks on, despite the fact that the flu is much more deadly for children than COVID. Additionally, at risk teachers are now eligible for the vaccine, so there’s no reason at all why every school in America shouldn’t be fully reopened 5 days a week.
A couple names that signed the document stood out.
At the very top is Dan Duffy, a man in his 20’s who couldn’t die from COVID if he tried. Back in October Dan decided to defend a bigoted art teacher at Oxford High School while defending a man who raped a black woman, and then libeled me before removing his comments under threat of litigation.
He obviously just doesn’t feel like going to work, and has never cared much about facts or evidence, so it’s not surprising his name is at the top of it.
The other name at the top was one I’d never seen before – Ashley Racicot. A quick look at her Facebook page shows that she owns Jazzercise Oxford, where she boasted about teaching in person classes at her studio less than a month ago.
This young, healthy, in shape woman should be teaching classes in person since COVID is no threat to her. She clearly doesn’t fear it at all if she’s having in person classes. But why do her clients get to be taught in person if her students can’t? Where will people be breathing heavier – a classroom or exercising?
Of course Ashley is willing to have in person classes at her business though, because if she doesn’t then she can’t make money. But teaching? She gets paid either way, and working from home is a lot less stressful than commuting to work every day.
As disappointed as I was to see this list I must say that I’m very happy to see who didn’t sign it, because there’s a few names I looked for and couldn’t find. A lot of teachers I’ve spoken with have been wanting to go back for a while. It’s just the Dan Duffy’s and Ashley Racicot’s of the world who continue to bring shame to this honorable profession. The children of the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District deserve better.
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