Senator Phil Berger has made it no secret that he wants schools to open up to all students on August 17th.
Forget that he is no scientist or epidemiologist. Forget that he wants to maintain political power in this election year. Forget what states like Texas and Florida are going through for opening up the their economies too quickly. Forget that hospitalizations are still rising and positive test percentages are still high.
But there are some things that Berger conveniently does not discuss or just ignorantly does not consider: there’s a lot of adults in our schools.
There’s around 100,000 teachers in North Carolina’s public schools. There are thousands of administrators.
And then think of all of these other essential people in our schools:
- Teacher Assistants
- Testing Coordinators
- Administrative Assistants
- Guidance Counselors
- Media Assistants
- Therapists – speech, occupational, physical
- Data Control and Clerks
- Bus Drivers and Transportation
- Food Services
- Crossing Guards
These are not children. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that adults are very susceptible to COVID-19.
North Carolina has 100 counties, each with a county public school system. According to the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Dept. of Commerce, the public schools are at least the second-largest employers in over 80 of them—and the largest employer, period, in over 60. That means teachers, support staff, classified employees, and administrators represent the largest employed body in most areas.
That’s a lot of adults in our schools.
Did Sen. Berger ask them what they think about reopening schools without the needed support and precautions?