BlairToday.com Staff Opinion
2021 September 28, Tuesday
The Blair school board held an “emergency meeting,” last night. The meeting was to discuss changes to the school system’s “Covid” policies. Specifically, there was a focus on “masks.”
The meeting was announced last week with the stipulation: No public comments. Further, any changes to policy “(would) be based on the parents’ survey.” (A survey with roughly 700 responses.)
Last night, the school board unveiled new plans: 1) Masks will remain optional for all students and staff. 2) If there is a COVID-19 positive case in a classroom, masks will be encouraged. 3) If two students test positive within a 14-day time period, masks will be required for all students and staff in that classroom or activity.
Board President, Kari Loseke, wrote (in a prepared statement), “We’ve had a tremendous amount of public opinion as to how the school should or shouldn’t be dealing with COVID-19. While public opinion has been strong in opposition to masking, I do want to acknowledge that I have received many compelling emails in favor of mask requirements. This is really, really hard because when you work for a school district and you represent a public school system, it’s important to do what is best for all the students in this community.” And, “Usually, I feel like we’ve been able to come up with compromises, but we have not where COVID is concerned. I really don’t like the fact that we can’t make everyone happy, but I guess that’s where we are at in society. It’s frustrating knowing that we are disappointing people and we can’t find a solution that works for everyone because everyone is entitled to a public education.”
There are many, many questions one could ask:
- Why is the threshold for “masks” (2) students? Why not (1)? Why not (3)? Why not any arbitrary number?
- Do board members know the size of covid particles? Do they know filtration ratings on masks kids are strapped with? Do board members know the relationship between the two?
- When kids leave the classroom where they were forced to wear a mask – every, single, one of them – will their breath be “covid-free” enough to walk into other classrooms? If yes, then why did they need the “mask” (even if you believe masks work); and if NO, well, then WHAT IS THE POINT of the masks worn in the prior class? If “science” says masks work, and if there is enough cause to strap kids up, then, wouldn’t it be a terrible deriliction of duty to NOT force them to wear masks?
- Do any board members spend timewith kids? Do they know kids don’t wear masks ANYWHERE outside of where they are forced to? And, whatever “covid” they have or don’t have is spread like wildfire AWAY FROM SCHOOL?
If “science” says masks work, and if there is enough cause to strap kids up for one class, then, wouldn’t it be a terrible deriliction of duty to NOT force them to wear masks all day?
But, wait. Just hold on. You see what I did there? I just asked questions that may receive exactly zero answers. Even if they would, remember, the school board refused to allow public comment at this “emergency meeting.” So, the proverbial die was cast without discussion on Monday night.
I spoke with a friend today and told her, “To me, the issue is not about rule changes. The issue is about buck-passing to surveys and the refusal to allow public comment. I would rather the board say, ‘Masks are necessary. Science says so. They will be required. We will revisit this in 90 days,’ than what they just did.”
My friend said she was happy with the outcome because, for now, her child won’t have to wear a mask. She then thought about it and said, “No, you’re right. The school board should have taken a stand one way or the other. Because when – not if – masks are put on kids again, many parents will be angry and want answers.” (Also, my friend has a solution to Kari Loseke’s consternation about people who are not “happy”: Parents decide whether their children are forced to wear masks.)
You see, my friend knows something about life. Namely, “You can’t please everyone.”
Board President, Kari Loseke wrote, “I really don’t like the fact that we can’t make everyone happy…”
And, in the process, the Blair school board accomplished the very thing Kari wrote she didn’t like. The problem is (and, maybe I’m alone in this), but the problem is…
…the problem is, I can respect a person for what they believe – even if I disagree. I can trust a person – even if I disagree with them. And, I’m even willing to follow a person’s guidance with whom I disagree.
To be very specific and clear: I would rather see the school board pull out data, science, research, and studies that support the idea of “masks” – EVEN IF I COULD POKE HOLES IN THOSE STUDIES – than witness edict-by-survey.
It’s just gross. And, lame. And, sad, frankly.
So, you can either accept “policy change by survey,” and a board that refuses to hear public comment, and a board that may or may not reply to you on any of this (see my attempts to get a reply on critical race theory and sex education for more on that.) OR…
OR.. You can VOTE THEM OUT.
Every board member who refuses to answer your questions – VOTE THEM OUT. Any of them that won’t PUBLICLY DENOUNCE the choice to disallow public comment should be VOTED OUT. Any school board member who voted for something that they pass off as the result of a “survey” (as opposed to SCIENCE) should be VOTED OUT. And, you should give credit where it is due for members who DO answer your questions, EVEN if you don’t like the answers. And, just so I am not misquoted: I don’t advocate that EVERYONE be voted out. Nor do I advocate that if you don’t always agree with a decision they be voted out. You will not always like, or agree with a decision.
I am specifically making the case that IF THE BOARD WANTS TO CREATE POLICIES BY SURVEYS, and if they don’t answer your questions, and they won’t allow public discussion BEFORE a decision, then, well…
VOTE THEM OUT.
You have choices. No matter what your opinion of “covid” is (or masks), you should expect both an open forum, with spirited and engaging public debate (where conclusions aren’t drawn in advance), and the people who hold the key to your kid’s time in Blair schools should be willing to stand proudly behind their choices…
…REGARDLESS of what the choice is.