Editorial: Playing politics with a virus that has no ideology is a deadly game
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 -- Political egos must not blind anyone from recognizing the COVID-19 virus' deadly reality. It has no ideology or bias. A school board's priority is simple -- assure students, faculty and staff have the best resources and environment to learn and teach. If it won't do it then officials in Raleigh - the governor, the superintendent of public instruction and the legislature - need to do their job and force them.Posted — Updated
The Union County Board of Education – and other boards that are sharing similar approaches to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic – have their priorities way out of whack.
Unfortunately they expressed their discontent by jeopardizing the health, safety and lives of the school districts 41,500 students and workers in an early Monday morning 13-minute emergency meeting – voting 8-1 to “immediately” stop COVID-19 contact tracing and largely cut back on quarantine requirements in the district’s schools. Anyone not showing any symptoms or having a negative COVID diagnosis regardless of any contract tracing, could immediately return to school.
The Union school board is having none of it. No masks, no contact tracing, no quarantining, the board ordered. Ignore the facts and the problem goes away? Is that the misguided lesson this board and others are teaching?
That is irresponsible. It presents a problem for the schools and threatens the entire community.
Cajoling by expert health leaders and polite persuasion from the governor are being met with strident resistance. It may be time to replace the gentle hand of persuasion with a swift kick in the butt.
Would responsible parents send their children to schools where lack of precautions means there is a real chance of exposure to the deadly virus; where they might contact and spread it to others; or where worst of all, they’d be made ill? Would reasonable adults subject themselves to that kind of working environment?
No way - obviously.
The governor, the state superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education and the General Assembly should and rise in unison to stand by science to protect our children and the health of our communities.
For recalcitrant boards like Union, Harnett County and others, there needs to be more than “suggested” guidelines that are met with ridicule and rejection.
Cooper, with backing from Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and the state Board of Ed, should issue an executive order along with directives that will make it clear when school systems refuse to take appropriate health and safety precautions, they will be held to account.
Further, the General Assembly needs to pass complimentary legislation making it clear that, in the same way state law requires students to have 10 immunizations to enroll in a public school, all eligible students, teachers and school staff must now demonstrate they have been vaccinated or agree to be tested weekly). Further, they must take necessary measures – such as requiring masks – to prevent the spread of the virus.
Political egos must not blind anyone from recognizing the virus’ deadly reality. It has no ideology or bias.
A school board’s priority is simple -- assure students, faculty and staff have the best resources and environment to learn and teach. If it won’t do it then officials in Raleigh – the governor, the superintendent of public instruction and the legislature – need to do their job and force them.
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