Teachers Can Protest Without Social Distancing but Refuse to Go Back to Work

In the age of post-COVID-19, nearly everyone has found life as we know it changed. Social distancing is a must, wearing masks is “highly suggested,” and things that we were once dependent on, such as work or school, have been put on hold.

Why? Because people have let their fears or blind ignorance outweigh reality. Either that or they are just plain lazy.

And no one seems to be proving this more than a group of teachers in New York City.

With Fall and the time for most school years to begin again nearly here, there is an extensive nation-wide discussion going on about whether or not it is safe to send our children back to school or not.

New York City, under the not so wise tutelage of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has decided that school this year will be given a “blended approach.” What this means is that, for the “vast majority of kids,” school will include two or three days a week of in-class instruction, where of course, social distancing a mask-wearing is a must. The other two or three days of learning will be done virtually via online instructions, according to the New York Post.

Mayor de Blasio made the call in late July citing that “You can certainly say, ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be tough it’s gonna take a lot of work.’” His Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza added that in these uncertain times, he and his staff wanted to “give some constancy to parents” and that “we’re really dealing with… imperfect solutions.”

Now, while I don’t necessarily agree with this method of schooling for the year, I do understand where they are coming from.

As both President Trump and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield have noted, keeping kids away from COVID-19 is not the only health factor we have to worry about. Also imperative to a child’s well-being and overall education is the ability to physically interact with others in their age group, as well as be exposed to teachers and staff who can counsel them on mental health, report child abuse, and offer other much-needed services.

However, on the other hand, you have teachers’ groups like the United Federation of Teachers, who have come out wholeheartedly against the education of students this year. In fact, many are even refusing to participate in online classes.

On August 3, a crowd of about 200 or so teachers from the group came together to march on the New York City Department of Education headquarters, noting that they didn’t want to go back to work.

As the Post reported, “The crafty group lugged a DIY yellow guillotine, with ‘DOE’ painted on the blade and ‘US’ written where the head would go. They also carried at least two boxes designed to look like coffins, with a black cloth draped over them, and three handmade body bags.”

The message was meant to instill a fear that sending kids to school, even if only virtually, would be the death of them and their family members.

Disillusioned kindergarten teacher Frankie Cook told the Post, “Children cannot focus on schoolwork if their family members or teachers are in the hospital dying. Children cannot learn if they’re dead.”

However, it appears that Cook, like all of the teachers in attendance, has missed a few facts.

First is that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 0-0.4 percent of all COVID-related deaths in NY state were children as of August 6. And in 19 states, not a single child has died from the virus. Furthermore, children who do get it do so from an adult, not another child. Children, in general, don’t spread the disease. Instead, adults do.

The teachers also seemed to have a misplaced idea of social distancing, as their protest included none of it. While walking through the streets, supposedly being worried that they will die from coronavirus because of a child, they failed to note that their co-worker, standing nearly shoulder to shoulder in some cases, might have it.

And yet Cook as the audacity to say, “Schools will be like prisons. Teacher’s main focus will be on enforcing health and safety because one slip could cause someone their lives.”

If she were any kind of smart, she’d know that she has a much, much higher chance of dying because the person next to her in their march has COVID and not a student in her class.