I applaud the Superintendent & Board of Education’s near-unanimous decision last night to commit to a fully virtual first semester back to school this Fall. My opponent was the sole vote against protecting the safety of our students and educators. While this situation is far from ideal for anyone, it is the only safe solution that will not put the lives of our students, educators, parents, staff, family members, and general community at risk, and it is also the consensus the educators themselves have expressed a desire for, as seen by the recent HCEA & MSEA statement.
The available data is overwhelmingly clear: with record new case numbers of COVID in the US everyday, this pandemic is nowhere close to being over. Given these statistics, not only would it be irresponsible to send students back to in-person classes, but it would even be downright dangerous, and would almost surely carry deadly consequences for students and staff. Those in charge of our federal education system clearly do not take the very real threat of Coronavirus seriously, as evidenced by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ recent strong pushes to send kids back to school this Fall, accusing those who are pushing for the safer virtual route of “sowing fear”. It is this unfortunate lack of national leadership right now that demands a responsible, data-driven local Board of Education; One that makes decisions based on science. For this reason, it was very encouraging to see the Board vote 6-1 last night in favor of a fully virtual first semester back this Fall.
However, I would be remiss to not express disappointment in my opponent, being the single “No” vote against assuring our students a safe education this Fall. I wish I could say I was surprised by my opponent’s irresponsible vote last night, but sadly, it’s consistent with a pattern of her aligning herself with the national GOP & DeVos’ anti-science education agenda, even to the point of using very similar rhetoric as DeVos, including a recent comment last week when defending reopening, saying that “we cannot allow fear to guide us”. This is bigger than fear, and this is bigger than politics – this is about protecting the lives of our students, educators, and staff during an international and deadly pandemic that we’re still in the peak of. Please remember what is at stake at the ballot box this November.