The American educational system is going to require a mass overhaul after this virus runs its course. 

Courtesy of the AP:

An aggressive push by Iowa’s pro-Trump governor to reopen schools amid a worsening coronavirus outbreak has descended into chaos, with some districts and teachers rebelling and experts calling the scientific benchmarks used by the state arbitrary and unsafe.

The clash in the Midwest has illustrated in condensed form the tension between science and politics — and between economic concerns and health fears — that has characterized the nation’s response to the outbreak from the White House on down. The virus has devastated the U.S. economy and killed over 170,000 Americans.

“We’re about to see a tragedy occur in the state. And there’s not a lot we can do about it. That’s frightening,” said Sara Anne Willette of Ames, a parent and former math tutor who runs a website tracking state infection data.

At issue is Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ mandate in July that districts offer at least 50% classroom instruction.

The conflict intensified Wednesday when the statewide teachers union announced a lawsuit challenging the governor’s ability to make such decisions for local districts. The Iowa City school board, which like many others had planned to start the year fully online, voted to join the lawsuit.

In her order, the governor said districts where 15% or more of coronavirus tests were positive over the prior 14 days can request permission to move to online instruction for two weeks at a time.

Health experts say Reynolds’ 15% threshold is not based on science and is three times higher than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests is safe. The surgeon general has recommended a 10% limit.

States and local districts have set widely varying thresholds for reopening schools, but Iowa’s is among the highest anywhere.

Iowa is by no means the only state that is watching its reopening plans fall apart.

Courtesy of WSWS:

On Wednesday, Detroit educators voted by a margin of 91-9 percent to authorize the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) to call a “safety strike” to block plans by the district to start in-person teaching when schools reopen on September 8. The overwhelming vote is another expression of popular opposition to the unsafe opening of schools, which includes sickouts by Phoenix area teachers and an explosion of social media groups that have organized protests across the country.

The DFT only called the strike vote out of concern that there would be a revolt by educators, parents and students against the plans Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to open the largest school district in the state, which was an earlier epicenter of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Workers throughout the city know that herding 55,000 students and more than 4,000 school employees into dilapidated and poorly ventilated school buildings will lead to a resurgence of virus.

In a district email earlier this month Nikolai Vitti, former superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida, revealed that some 80 percent of parents are opposed to in-person learning. On August 13, there was a three-month high of infections, with 1,138 new cases. As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been at least 103,527 cases and 6,607 deaths in Michigan.

Schools planning to reopen for in-person education are risking the lives of people’s children without really understanding what they are dealing with concerning the highly infectious nature of this virus. 

Our children are not lab rats.

The fact that parents and educators are pushing back on these decisions should not be a surprise to anyone, in fact, they should have been expected.