Submitted by Casey Tanaka
I am conflicted about how and when to reopen public schools. I cannot help but notice that stores like Vons and Smart and Final are and have been open in Coronado. I have been so appreciative of those workers coming in every day to serve our community despite how it could affect their health. These workers are not highly paid salaried employees, but they come in and do their jobs with grace and care. Like a person who hates the idea of good daily nutrition, I eat something from a fast food enterprise on a daily basis and again, these humble workers come in each day and serve lazy people like me who need to eat during a pandemic.
I feel a sense of duty to provide the same service to my profession and its stakeholders, and to assume the same risks as these quiet, unsung, everyday workers that I have been relying upon during this health crisis. I wish it were more clear if the parents of CUSD students were willing to send their children to school in spite of the risk, or if a majority of parents would prefer distance learning as a way to lessen the risks taken.
I would not hesitate to go back to in-person instruction, if that was asked of me, but it is sad to see this health crisis create a “fog of war,” inhibiting school districts and government agencies from forging reopening plans for the public to examine and consider. The most cautious approach is the one announced today by the Los Angeles and San Diego School Districts, to open in August on a distance learning footing. This feels like delaying the important discussion of whether we are willing to assume more risk, or not. I respect both points of view, but I think the debate needs to be had, because there are some willing to put on a mask and take the risk to go back to their classrooms.
There are also contingency plans that can be made to effectively work with adults and children who opt out of in-person instruction for a safer distance learning platform. I just wish it were easier to have an actionable discussion on this here in town, and around the country.