By Katie Henry
Pittsboro, NC – For three hours on the evening of October 12, the Chatham County School Board met and listened to presentations from medical consultants from Duke, Chatham County health department, concerned parents and the school administration.
The doctors from Duke have provided ongoing research, data and education as part of the collaboration partnership between the ABC Science Collaborative and Chatham County Schools. The board had a chance to ask additional questions and get clarifications on the material that was presented. The questions that were posed were along the lines of crystal ball predictions of the comparisons of wearing masks to wearing seat belts and duplicative questions regarding ventilation systems and air filters. The doctors were very clear with their answers advising the board that masks are worn in one of the most infectious places such as their workplace at Duke Hospital. They were confident in wearing them and still going to work everyday and coming home to their families some of whom go to school on a daily basis.
Three hours later, the board voted to discuss further at the next meeting in November and then to add additional special meetings for even more discussion. They expressed concerns that parents would not be able to react to a quick decision if they allowed students to return to the building so quickly.
It would be great if the board posed a survey to the parents and asked that question. I know of quite a few families who would drop off tomorrow. The concern over the parent’s dilemma for childcare is interesting now since during this meeting the YMCA requested approval to open up more support centers to provide childcare for the returning teaching staff. These centers otherwise known as classrooms would be available to the Chatham County Staff at no charge in the very same school buildings our children cannot return to at this time.
So many double standards and inconsistencies of how we are moving forward. The constant movement of the goal post is an endless source of frustration for those of us parents who once again did not choose a virtual setting. We constantly hear about those that do not want to go back to the building and the solution for those families is the virtual learning platform. The hybrid situation is not even being considered for the families who want to return to school.
The school board has allowed high school sports to begin skills workouts, which is another struggle for us working parents who now have to get our children to high school in the middle of the work day. Practice is very easy to roll into when you are at school all day.
I look forward to hearing more from candidates Dennis Lewis and Ryan Armstrong on their plan for the future of Chatham County Schools. We need our elected officials to make decisions and to stop waiting for the unknown. We are all moving forward in our day to day lives at the grocery store, restaurants, movie theaters and even the indoor trampoline parks but still in a downward spiral for our schools.
At what point do we put our masks on, wash our hands and get back to the school building for the sake of our children?