Ever since the start of the pandemic, the “how” and “where” of students continuing their schooling has been fiercely debated. There are those who feel that because children and teens are less severely impacted by COVID-19, schooling should continue to take place in person. Then there are those who are worried about the transmission possibilities and the well-being of adult faculty.
But we’ve reached a tipping point, and many schools are now coming up with ways to reopen “safely”—though some feel the precautions that are being taken are completely misguided.
A teacher’s video showing the way her classroom has been transformed into a “COVID-safe” space for students is showing just how absurd this whole back-to-school push can be.
In the video, 28 desks are set up in a normal-sized classroom, with each one surrounded on three sides by plexiglass, edged in black.
The teacher explains that she’ll have a full class if everyone comes back from virtual schooling and shows exactly what those students will see when they sit down: lots of obstructions.
“So I’m just wondering, when we ordered this $5 million dollars worth of plexiglass, did we have a classroom of 28 desks set up to where school board members could sit in them and see what this was going to be like?” she asked.
It’s unclear where the video originated, and if this specific teacher falls into the camp of believing that students should stay in virtual school for the time being or if schools should reopen with few-to-no COVID-19 safety precautions.
Regardless, she makes some good points, and the video raises additional questions of its own. Besides the students having a hard time seeing the board, and the teacher having a hard time seeing her students, she’s worried about how she’ll be able to hear them, and if she’s expected to disinfect the classroom in between each of her classes to maintain safety.
No small number of commenters also pointed out that the novel coronavirus is airborne, and plexiglass ultimately may not be the best way to stop transmission in a scenario where dozens of people remain in the same small space for prolonged periods of time. "This is fucking nightmare," one commenter said.
Other teachers and parents chimed in with how frustrating this half-hearted attempt to reopen schools in the middle of a pandemic has been.
“I spend all day reminding students to wear mask over mouth and nose,” wrote @MegsDclutter. “Symptomatic students are sent back to my classroom from nurse as ‘allergies.’ I’ve never felt so unsafe. So disposable. So hopeless. So ready to break down.”
Whichever side of the argument people fall on, they all seem to agree that this is an ineffective and insulting way to try to handle education, both for teachers and students alike.
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