The Dangerous Contradictions of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s ReOpening Schools “Plan”

On June 11th, the State Board of Education met to discuss guidelines for opening schools and vote on their adoption. Those guidelines were put together by state health experts. No one of the State Board of Education is a state health expert, especially Dan Forest.

From NC Policy Watch’s Greg Childress on June 12th:

Lt. Gov. Forest is the lone “no” vote on plan developed by state health experts.”

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Forest’s reasoning?

School districts in counties where the threat of coronavirus infection is low should be allowed to operate differently than those in counties where the threat is greater, says Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

Forest has been vocal about wanting to open up schools. He even tweeted this week about it.

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That tweet also talked about the differences between counties as far as cases of COVID-19 are concerned. It ended with this:

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There are three distinct observations that need to be investigated in regard to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s opinion about how we as a state should “reopen” schools aside from the fact that he will contradict Gov. Cooper in any way possible since he has been running for governor for the last four years.

1. Forest has no plan himself. He wants it to be up to each LEA how it handles reopening. That opens the door to making each LEA responsible financially for what is needed resource-wise and personnel-wise for enacting a plan that ensures student and educator safety.

2. Forest should not talk about stoking “fear.” Why? well, two reasons. One is that Forest has never sent his children to public schools. He and his wife have home-schooled their children and been very open about it. Forest has no idea of what parents may feel sending their children back to public schools during this pandemic.

And remember the HB2 debacle? The one that gave us the “Bathroom Bill” and the lost business in North Carolina and a stain on our reputation as a state? All for a non-existent problem. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest championed that bill and its intent as much as anyone.

“If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it. North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless.”

No price can be set on a child’s life according to Forest , especially in a situation that never occurred. But what about a child’s life or the life of a child’s family member in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic? Even when we could expand Medicaid in this state with almost total federal funding that we as taxpayers already have financed?

3. Forest is intentionally ignoring that the spread of coronavirus has picked up quite a bit this week alone in NC.

From the News & Observer this yesterday:

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It takes just one case to spread this virus in even the rural of counties. Just ask Wilkes, Macon, Robeson, Cumberland, Duplin, ….

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(Interactive map maintained by Charlotte Observer).

And here’s a map on a site kept current by WRAL of cases by zip codes.

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And that’s even more telling as many zip codes have been hit much harder by COVID-19. Many school zones are established by looking at zip codes which quite often show a clear lines of demarcation when looking at socioeconomic variables.

What does Forest have to say about that?