What are we doing to our kids?

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Leslie Esquibel

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Feb 8, 2022, 1:55:31 PM2/8/22
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LAPS School Board,
 
I love our town, and I love our people. And I love our kids. We have known that this virus doesn’t kill kids for quite some time, yet, some are afraid the kids will bring it home to grandma, and our hospital will get overrun. Kids have been told for two years that they are a danger to society. And they are reminded every day, all day, as they see masks all around, protecting “us” from “them.” Isn’t it time to quit sacrificing our kids to this virus?

My kids have spent so much time in “remote learning.” After spending a week in meetings last month, I cannot imagine spending 6 hours a day, for a week or a month, in “remote learning.” No wonder they are so happy to “get to go to school.” My kids have spent 6 hours a day in masks, 5 days a week, week after week, for two years. How many conversations have they avoided? How do they welcome the stranger, or initiate new friendships, or even encourage each other?

Many in our community have tested positive, especially since Christmas. I would assume that a majority of our students have either had the virus or had a vaccine, or both, or at least been exposed multiple times. Our hospital has not been overrun. It’s time to lighten up on them. It feels like they have been out of school more than in lately, with the break, then quarantining for close contact, then remote learning, snow days, and more quarantining. The message seems to be that being in school isn’t that important. This is not a message I want instilled in my child.

So many mixed messages….  Stay home, or come but keep your distance and wear a mask, or go home because someone else got sick and you might be sick. Drink water to stay healthy, but not in class (keep that mask on), and the drinking fountains are closed. Bring everything you might need (including your computer, just in case), but you can’t use your locker so you will have to carry your heavy backpack all day. Its cold outside so wear a coat—you will definitely need it while you sit outside on the concrete for lunch, but you can’t put it in your locker, so you have to wear it all day. I can’t imagine the stress on our teachers and school personnel. They love our kids too, and must spend so much of their time enforcing the rules, contact tracing, putting materials together for the kids who are out, and trying to support them all without being able to even share a smile, or a pat on the back, or a hug.

It’s time to look beyond this virus. It’s time to start letting the kids get back to some sense of normal. Please consider lightening these restrictions, rather than locking the kids down even more.  It’s time.

What is our goal, here? I propose it is time for LAPS to set some goals for our covid response. In keeping with our local flavor, how about some SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals? Keeping our kids “safe” isn’t measurable. When will we be able to relax restrictions, rather than just ramp them up?

The last thing our kids need is another expert opinion on the LAPS covid response. It is not LAPS role to take care of the community, the hospital numbers, or the elderly. LAPS primary responsibility is educating our kids. It is time for LAPS to focus on what is best for the kids. Leave it to the families to determine how to keep them “safe”, how to protect other vulnerable family members, etc. Enough already! This virus is not a threat to kids. Let them return to normal life.

Leslie Esquibel
Mother of 5 (4 completed LAPS, 1 still there); Grandmother of 5 (3 in LAPS)
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