I am terrified by the idea that Aiken County Public Schools are planning to reopen. Why? When the Education Secretary was asked this question, she responded that the children need to be back in school. She did not give a reason, but obviously the reason is that our president has announced that this is what he wants to happen.
Surely, all of us want children to go back to school and for their parents to go back to work. Who would not like this to happen? However, common sense would direct that we be guided by reality rather than by wishful thinking.
In the last two days, Aiken County has experienced more cases and more deaths from the coronavirus than during the entire pandemic up to this time. What sane mind would think that this is the time to send kids back to school?
Everyone agrees that it is better for all if the kids are back in school, but what sensible person would want to endanger them and risks their transmitting the virus further for no other reason than that the presidents wants this. We have seen his ill-advised decisions which he reaches without consultation or contemplation. We have seen where his rash actions have led us. He lacks the intellect to understand complex situations. He responds with whatever whim comes to mind, which he freely changes without reason. For example, his declaration that we are at war in this pandemic and that he is in charge, only to change a day later to say he accepts no responsibility. One day he is calling the leader of North Korea a “Little Rocket Man”, only to pronounce a few days later that he and Kim Jong Un are in love. He eschews wearing of masks only to come back three months later proclaiming their use to be patriotic. He recommends an untested drug as a preventative and a cure for the corona virus and suggests that people ingest disinfectants. He repeatedly congratulates himself on doing such a wonderful job with handling the virus and proclaiming that we are better off than anyone in the world, when we all know this is far from the truth.
I don’t want to fill this letter with the wavering and erroneous calls of the president. I do want to say that sane minds should prevail on the issue of opening schools here in Aiken County. Surely, we can take heroic measure to try to make up for the time lost from school once it is safe to go back. There could be extended school days, year-round school, additional private tutoring where needed, after-school programs, etc. When the house is on fire, the first thing to do is escape the flames, extinguish them and then go back and survey loses and make up for them.
Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Our president plays golf while our nation is going up in the flames of a deadly pandemic and an equally deadly racial and political divide.
Beatrice B. McGhee