BY JOHN McLOONE
There is a lot of frustration brewing in our community.
Schools and school boards have kind of been the sounding board for a lot of that frustration.
This isn’t going to be any kind of a rant on masking or not masking. Opinions are set in stone at this point, two years into a pandemic. On one side, some people feel like they need to wear masks in their own vehicles. Far to the other side, this is just another flu bug. Toward the middle, viewpoints clash on what needs to be done to tackle the pandemic. Almost three-fourths of us are vaccinated. For a variety of reasons – political, religious or personal liberty – the other quarter or so aren’t vaccinated and aren’t going to get vaccinated. Opinions across the spectrum aren’t going to change.
Full disclosure: I’m vaccinated. I have a daughter who is a nurse on the front lines of this, and I trust her when she says this is no ordinary flu bug, and that vaccination will help deter its spread. I’m now of the opinion, however, that I don’t care what anyone else does, if they aren’t in my direct sphere of influence. In this instance, that means my family. We’re all over the place geographically, and I get peace of mind when we gather if rapid spread of COVID isn’t something that’s dinner conversation. I also travel many miles during the week. Again, I have peace of mind traveling to areas where there is a higher community spread of COVID.
But that being said, you do you. Do it, however, with respect to our institutions that are here to serve the community as a whole.
School districts and school boards have taken the brunt of the criticism over handling of COVID. There’s times when kids are forced to mask if there is rapid spread in the building or classrooms. There are times when kids have to learn virtually. School boards are put into the line of fire. Go easy on them. They’re doing the best for all kids and the community. They don’t want kids out sic k, and they don’t want to mandate COVID-related crises. They’re being forced to, and they turn to health care experts for advice. They’re learning on the fly, like all of us since this virus hit our shores. No one has all the answers, and maybe we don’t yet know the right answer. The solution in the fight against this thing is still out there, but doing nothing to fight it isn’t going to work.
So, while you’re being you, go easy on them. If elections roll around, and you think you can do better, do it. But realize when you’re in charge, the framework of most things that happen in schools is contingent on money flowing in from the state and federal government. Often times, that money has strings attached. Many a time in my 40-plus years in this business have I seen blocks of new candidates banded together to vote out school boards. Little changes when the new board is in place. Some of the best board members I’ve seen have run on platforms of drastic change. When they get on board, they realize that the administration and the district are doing all they can do to best-educate our children. Sometimes that means tough and unpopular choices are being made.
I’ll be me, you be you, and lets us as a whole continue to keep the community’s best interest at heart. The pandemic won’t last forever. Let’s make sure divided communities isn’t its lasting victim.