Tag: school

Questions For Every School Board Before Reopening

The science is clear, Covid-19 has produced a dangerous and deadly pandemic. It’s nothing like the flu or the common cold. As of late, the amount of people contracting this virus has increased dramatically, largely because significant populations are unwilling to take even basic precautions. Regardless of fringe conspiracies and political bias, the urgency of this health and information crisis remains. Lives are at stake.

Enter, the reopening of schools.

This is truly where the rubber meets the road for our society. The choices of school boards will greatly reflect what our society values most and the maturity we have as humans in the face of crisis. As many are concerned, the clock is ticking to make critical decisions in regards to the reopening of schools that will affect the lives of everyone involved, not just students.  

In my opinion, as a parent and spouse of a teacher, the following are questions that must be raised and answered as school boards discern the best pathway forward. 

1) What is your priority, the lives of teachers and their families, students and their families, and staff and their families or in-person education? Which one is more important? Are you willing to take the clear and established risk of death that in-person education creates in exchange for an urgent reopening of schools with some form of in-person instruction?

2) Is delay of gratification an important principle for life and decisions? Is there room in your decision making to temporarily delay in-person education of any form for the sake of preventing the probability of permanent death to your students and their families, teachers and their families, or staff and their families?

3) How do you justify having virtual school board and leadership meetings for safety purposes yet ask students, teachers, and staff to participate in an in-person educational environment? 

4) If you measure a child’s temperature before entering an in-person educational environment, who will discern those students who have been medicated to reduce their fevers upon entering? Will temperatures be taken throughout the day? If so, who will be doing this? How will the school know if a child, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19? If a child presents symptoms of Covid-19 before or during school, what actions will be taken? If that child must remain at school, where will they go and who will monitor them?

5) When it’s known that a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19, will all persons having been in contact or proximity to them be required to quarantine for 14 days? When it’s a teacher or staff member, will they receive additional sick leave to cover their absence? When their recovery takes months, will they continue to be compensated even if they don’t have short-term disability? Knowing that some persons having had Covid 19 experience a return of the virus, will these students, teachers, or staff persons be allowed to return to an in-person instructional environment?

6) What becomes of the teacher or staff member who, due to their own medically validated health reasons or that of family members, is significantly placed at an even higher risk in an in-person educational environment and therefore refuses to do so? Will they be fired? Do they not have a civil right to work in a safe, educational environment as was established upon employment? Do you have teaching or staff options available with the same compensation and benefits for these high risk persons? Are you prepared for the numerous lawsuits that will ensue?

7) If masks or distancing are required in an in-person educational environment, what will be the consequences of violating these rules? Who will be enforcing these rules and consequences? Will there be different rules for different environments? If so, what are they and are they agreed upon?

8) What efforts have been made to hear from and solicit the concerns of your most important asset… teachers?  Have they been provided an autonomous environment from which to speak openly and honestly about their questions and concerns? What weight do those concerns carry?

9) In the end, what is the teaching moment for your school board in all of this? If you say that “The education of our students is the most important thing,” then how can that be achieved if they’re dead, their teacher is dead, or a staff member is dead–all unnecessarily? 

Is the removal of a temporary educational setback more important than people’s lives? Are academic performance, goals, and career ambitions more important than people’s lives? Is your alignment to personal politics more important than people’s lives? Are your personal agendas more important than people’s lives. As a school board, are the lives of students, teachers, and staff members expendable? In the months ahead, is the ultimate exam given to students, teachers, and staff going to be to see if they can stay alive? Instead of the EOG (End Of Grade) testing, will it be more like an EOL (End Of Life) testing?

In short, is your love of the idea of education more important than the reality of people’s lives? 

Choose wisely.

The lives of students, teachers, staff members and their families are literally all on you.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Back to School God’s Way

As one of my friends on facebook posted, “Where has the summer gone?”  Yup, the new school year is upon us. And, if you are like me and most parents, this is a super stressful time for the whole family.  Supplies to buy, schedules to arrange, clothes to try on, orientations to attend, doctors appointments to schedule, and then to top it off, there is a ton of “change” to manage. “Will I make new friends?” “Wow, I am not sure I am ready for them to be growing up, and so fast” “Mom, I need to have _________, if I don’t I will be a nerd, and I just might hate your guts forever”

You know the routine, and could surely fill in your own back-to-school experiences. To be sure, it’s not easy reality to manage, anxiety levels are high, stress is growing, and the reality of change is not an easy pill to swallow.  So, how can we all manage this time of the year in ways that are sync with God?

Here are a few tips on riding the back-to-school wave with Grace.

1) Stay cool.

And by that I mean, don’t let this time of the year erode your sense of peace. In times of stress, it’s easy to get into a tailspin of short tempers, stress, and anxiety, often majoring in the minors, and minoring in the majors. Try to keep you perspective and rest in the reality that God is at work and will surely guide and provide your way through this stressful time. Your attitude towards “back-to-school” will set the temperature in your family for how everyone else handles it.  If you are calm, cool, and collected, chances are that will help minimize the overall stress level for the rest of the family. Remember, you are already perfect in Christ, you don’t have to perform perfectly nor does everything have to come together perfectly. Don’t miss the forest from the trees.  Enjoy this time, even the stress of it, one day, you will be wishing you could have these days back again.

2) Keep communication lines open and active.

“Back-to-school” is an important time to go above the call of duty to make sure everyone is talking, expressing, and communicating feelings and needs. Making sure to initiate conversations among family members will be critical. Repeatedly asking questions like, “So, how are you feeling about all this?” “Hey, is there anything we are forgetting?” “So, how are you handling things?” will be valuable tools before, during, and after the “back-to-school” whirlwind. So many negative situations can be prevented or diffused from becoming a problem if communication lines are open and active.

3) Speak out your faith for the new school year.

In addition to praying together, I think it’s incredibly valuable to speak out statements of faith over the “back-to-school” experience. When you and your family speak and hear declarations of faith, it releases God to work and uplifts everyone who hears them.  Statements like, “I believe this new year is going to be full of blessings and wonderful surprises from God” “Lord, I thank you that you have gifted my children with great minds that will excel in learning this year.”Jesus, I thank you in advance for working all things out for our good and your glory, covering my children with your protection and purposes” will have a supernatural effect on the “back-to-school” atmosphere of your family.   Asking your children, “What are you believing God for this new year in school?” is a great way to get things started.

4) Don’t get over-scheduled

There is a great temptation among American families to be over-scheduled with activities. And this is the time of the year when that destructive ball gets set into motion. Your value and worth as a parent and family is not in how many activities you are doing each week. You can have an after school event or activity scheduled for every day of the week for your children and completely miss out on the true essence and experience of family at the same time.  One of the worst mistakes we can make as parents is to raise performance-driven children who base their identities on the amount and level of their extra-curricular accomplishments.  Soccer, ballet, dance, football etc. are all great things for our children, as long as they are managed well.  Nothing can be more important than to teach our children how to prioritize their lives, placing faith, family, play, rest, and school at the top of the list.  Everyone has a plan for your children’s lives. Coaches, programs, sports, etc. are all craving the unrestrained and unrestricted time and commitment of your children. And trust me, they will take it all if you let them. The question is, “Are you going to teach your children when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to all the things soliciting their time, in ways that keep the main things in life the main thing?”

So, what would you add to this list?

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