Are These CDC Guidelines the Future of Mesa County Schools?
It seems the expectation is that schools will be reopening this fall, but if that happens it could look very different.
I noticed a post on social media outlining some of the recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control about how schools should operate when they reopen. My first thought was 'this has to be fake news.' So I went directly to the purported source of the guidelines, the CDC, and this is what I found.
* Restrict mixing between groups
* Cancel all field trips, inter-group events, and extracurricular activities
* Space seating/desks to at least six feet apart
* Close communal use spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds
* If a cafeteria or group dining room is typically used, serve meals in classrooms instead
* Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids
* Conduct daily health checks of staff and students (temperature screening/symptom checking)
* Have the same group of children stay with the same staff (all day for young children, as much as possible for older children)
* Keep each child's belongings separated from others' and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas and taken home each day and cleaned
* All staff members wearing masks and mask-wearing encouraged in students over the age of 2
* Physical barriers or screens between sinks in bathrooms
* Tape on sidewalks and walks to ensure six-feet distances
You get the idea. These guidelines can all be found on the CDC website, though the document is long and cumbersome and there is a lot more.
It feels like we are now suddenly trying to prepare for and prevent every scenario where there is the slightest possibility of spreading infection. Somehow that feels like an impossible task. Just like we can not possibly prepare for and prevent every possible bad thing that can happen to each of us on any given day. We just cannot do it. There are inherent risks that come with living - and we face these risks every morning when we walk out our front door.
Yes, we do what we can to keep ourselves as safe as possible like buckling our safety belts, and not using our cell phone while we drive. But, yet, the possibility of an accident or injury always remains.
I'm driving down the road and a bird inexplicably flies through my open truck window. For the rest of my life am I never again going to drive down the road with my windows open to prevent this from happening again, even though it maybe happened only once in 40 years of driving? Of course not. I'll absorb the risk.
We need to keep our children safe that is for sure when they return to school and we need to take reasonable steps to ensure their well-being. But, there is a point where the best of intentions simply go too far and borders on absurd. Some of these guidelines make it feel like we might be at that point.
We only hope that in the end, common sense will prevail and our children can enjoy their school years with plenty of social interaction and extra-curricular activities that will mold them and shape them into socially healthy and functional adults.