News Analysis

Virginia school board member to parents: 'Do you want your kids to be alive or to be educated?'

A school board member of the Alexandria Public School system was caught on video suggesting parents who want their students to return to school are asking for a death wish and that's why schools have remained closed.

Nicole Russell Texas, US
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A school board member of the Alexandria Public School system was caught on video suggesting that parents who want their students to return to school are asking for a death wish and that's why schools have remained closed.

During a school board meeting Thursday evening over Zoom, member Margaret Lorber suggested parents who advocate for schools to reopen for in-person schooling would be causing their children to die of COVID-19.

In the video, Lorber says, "Do you want your kids to be alive or to be educated?"  Lorber goes on, "At this point...you have to speak out and take a position. I don't fault those who have taken out and said all the CDC stuff and Health Department…is bunk... but I think the careful, gradual approach that we've been taking is the safe approach."

This is a false dichotomy as DeAngelis pointed out. Multiple public health officials and experts have said, and maintained for months, that schools could safely reopen because children rarely transmit COVID-19 to others.

As Dr. Fauci has said publicly, "The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school [...] if you look at the data the spread among children and from children is not really big at all."

Schools in many states, including Virginia have remained close for in-person learning, often save for preschool aged children or children who require special education. This has left millions of kids struggling to learn virtually, provided they have access to the internet, computers, and more in order to do so.

The Washington Post reported in early December schools were going to start slowly reopening as "evidence of online learning gaps" had begun to appear. Not only has virtually learning proven to be difficult for all aged kids, the adverse effects of little to no socialization, and access to other school activities, has started to take its toll.

In neighbouring Fairfax County, Virg., remote learning has taken its toll. Data for the Commonwealth of Virginia's largest school system showed that forced remote learning has created a "trend of more failing." Student grades have plummeted—kids that were struggling before COVID are struggling even more in the new set up, and those with learning disabilities are so far behind that catching up is going to be nearly impossible.

Student's are failing key classes; F's are up by a whopping 83 percent this year with children with learning disabilities struggling the most—their F's are up over 100 percent.

Yet teachers unions are intent on keeping schools closed. In many of the nation's largest cities schools closed in March 2020 and haven't reopened. Teachers in some areas are trying to get schools open, but they've said that they are hindered by the union that wants to keep them working remotely even though this is bad for kids. The Chicago Teachers Union has been one of the groups most vocally opposed to reopening.

Parents and kids alike have been frustrated to discover that many school systems nationwide seem content to continue to facilitate virtual school, rather than open schools, despite evidence showing the former would help kids more.

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