BOURBONNAIS – Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School teacher Michael Dorsam is asking teachers, parents and administrators this morning, “Why is it worth it to risk their lives to send them back?”
Been tweeting a lot about need to keep schools remote because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of getting this deadly virus & of my friends getting it. But mostly I’m afraid of kids getting it. If you’re not, what’s wrong with you? Why is it worth it to risk their lives to send them back?— Mike Dorsam (@MrDorsam) August 8, 2020
The question is poised not from evidence found countries away, but miles.
In Indiana, multiple schools have closed after positive COVID-19 tests came back, exposing countless students, teachers and staff to the virus. At Elwood Junior Senior High School, just a three hour drive from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, two days after reopening, two students tested positive for COVID-19. The school converted to eLearning last week after one staff member tested positive for the virus.
Several others are now in quarantine.
Even more disturbing, a mandatory mask order for Indiana schools was modified to allow students to remove masks for classroom instruction when they are able to maintain social distance. That decision by local health officials in Indiana even though we’ve known COVID-19 RNA is airborne, since March.
IDPH/ISBE/CDC recommendations do not take the airborne transmission data into account in their own recommendations.
There is no normal now. Sending kids to school even with a plan we think keeps them safe doesn’t and is far from normal. So again, why roll the dice with the lives of students, teachers, and families? There is little to gain and everything to lose.— Mike Dorsam (@MrDorsam) August 8, 2020
Dorsam says Boards and Administrators need to stop now and do the right thing in Illinois.
“I’m a much better teacher when I’m in a classroom w/students. But given time & resources we can and will make remote learning work until it’s safe to return.” Dorsam added Saturday morning. “We need to worry about saving lives now and fix the rest as we go. Boards & admins need to hear this & do the right thing.”
In Georgia, local officials announced earlier this week the youngest COVID-19 related death in the state to date that killed a 7-year-old African American boy. The boy had no underlying health issues and died in the hospital after suffering a seizure in the shower. The boy reportedly contracted the virus after attending a church service with two elderly people, who later also died.
Nearly 100,000 school aged children have tested positive from July 16th to July 30th, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Days before the death of the boy, a YMCA Camp in Georgia had more than 250 children and young adults test positive for the virus, according to a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chicago Public Schools voted earlier this week to go entirely remote. They join communities like Naperville, Plainfield and Romeoville who have already made the same call for their students to return to remote learning this fall.
The BBCHS Board approved a plan in July that would require face-to-face learning daily for fifty
percent of the student body with remote learning for the balance of the students’ daily-required
educational hours. Days would run till noon each day. A recent survey by the Board showed 80% of BBCHS students plan to return to school in person.
The current return-to-school plan centers around the ‘Red/White’ schedule which sees students with last names A-L and M-Z divided into specific days they can attend in person, on continuous rotation. Students and teachers will be asked to monitor for signs and symptoms, with masks required at all times. All students will be administered temperature checks upon arriving at school, with social distancing enforced and sanitation stations available in each classroom.
“As with every plan right now, this document is fluid and has the potential to change as necessary based on the guidance from the state, as well as the Illinois Department of Public Health.” Superintendent Dr. Scott Wakeley said in a statement to parents last month.
Among items on the agenda for Monday’s meeting include the resignations of five BBCHS teachers and staff, including Kelly Dunnill. Dunnill was elected to a four-year term to the Bourbonnais Elementary School District #53 Board of Education in 2019. Dunnill voted against a full-day return for students in District #53 schools last week.
No word from any of the five resignations if the decisions stem from COVID-19 related issues.
The next regular BBCHS Board of Education meeting is scheduled this Monday, August 10th at 6 pm. Bourbonnais Elementary School District #53 is also scheduled to meet this week, on August 12th at 7pm. Evolving details of both District’s return to school plan are scheduled to be discussed.