Returning to school now is just too risky
“Numbers of COVID cases are not driving his decisions right now.”
That comes from minutes of a meeting with Stafford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner. It’s extremely concerning given that two-thirds of the CDC’s core indicators are based on the number of cases.
According to VDH data updated on Jan. 2, Stafford has a seven-day average of 72 cases per 100,000 and a 13.7 percent positivity rate. Both of these put us in the “higher risk of transmission in schools” category, and the numbers are climbing.
When pressed to give his opinion on schools, Dr. Mike McDermott, CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare, responded, “If schools were considering not going back in the fall when the prevalence was much less, how do you do it right now when the prevalence is higher than it’s ever been, and the number of patients hospitalized is higher than it’s ever been, and the number of patients dying from COVID every day in our country is higher than it’s ever been?”
So, if it isn’t science that’s driving Dr. Kizner’s decisions right now, what is it? It certainly isn’t concern for staff, who have been writing him en masse expressing their anxiety and fear over returning.
One teacher perfectly summed up the fears that I’ve seen expressed: “I’m afraid I’m going to die. Or that I’ll get sick and … not be able to care for myself or my child. I’m afraid I’m going to be fired for trying to protect myself. I’m afraid I’m going to be the reason my father dies or the reason one of my students gets sick. This is what I think about all day. This is what I’ve thought about every moment of the break.”
It’s past time for our division leadership to make responsible decisions that adhere to health and safety recommendations.