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COVID Update July 9: Donald Trump is insisting schools open or he’s threatening withhold federal money.

Forgive me if I’m not convinced of his commitment to kids. 1/
Being pro-child should be a lay-up for a president. I mean, you can start a war but still call yourself the “education president.”

Until Trump it would have seemed you’d have to try pretty hard not to be pro-kid. Not anymore. 2/
If Trump has a legacy for kids it’s hard to pick which one.

Is it (a) his indifference to renewing children’s health insurance & trying to get rid of the ACA which ensures millions of kids? 3/
Or, is it (b) the excellent training he’s given kids on how to hide in closets, wear bulletproof backpacks & live with the fear of school shootings?

All it took was a phone call & some money from the NRA for Trump to decide what a child’s life is worth. 4/
Of course, you might say, but Andy, it’s (c) the man put kids in cages. He purposely separated infants & toddlers from their parents. And didn’t keep records.

Yeah that shameful it makes me stomach hurt & makes my eyes tear. With anger. 5/
So forgive me if when Trump, our first anti-child President, says he demands schools open if I think maybe he has something different in mind other than the kids’ best interests.

#TrumpIsAntiChild 6/
Maybe he studied it & he believes that kids at school will be safe & is drawing a tough line to make sure they are.

The CDC comes out with guidelines to try to open schools safely. Putting kids first, Trump said they were too expensive & too onerous.7/
The CDC, showing their steel spine, held out for two complete hours before revising the guidelines to Trump’s liking.

So safety— maybe not what’s driving him. 8/
So it doesn’t take too much imagination to see the link between kids being back at school & getting you back to work.

Since he’s decided not to run on dealing with the virus (that would take work), he plans to run on job growth off this low base. 9/
But that’s not it. He (& his sidekick Betsy “3Rs” Devos) are aiming to strawman the other side into being reflexively anti-back to school. He thinks he can win suburban women back who he just assumes don’t want to be stuck at home with their kids doing distance learning. 10/
Don’t think he can do that? Here goes.

You want to remove a Civil War stature? WELL, YOU’RE ANTI-HISTORY!

You want to look at the data before you send kids back to school? WELL, YOU’RE ANTI SCHOOL! 11/
It’s a cynical ploy that no one should fall for. The president wants something for nothing. He doesn’t want to reduce case counts or spread over the summer & he hasn’t created enough tests or PPE.

His life philosophy is all pleasure, no pain. 12/
What are the actual safety issues and equity issues and teacher issues with school being back? It’s impossible to discuss without having you listen to @arneduncan talk so poignantly about these issues here: 13/
The issues need to be sorted out locally, case by case, with lots of teacher & parent & kid input. Who lives with sick relatives? Who has meal access at home? Whose parents have to work outside the home? Who has wifi? 14/
Then there’s the question of what’s happening around the world when schools open? A Spain study showed some but limited child to adult spread. Israeli schools had to be shut down because of spread.

In TX, there were 1335 TX cases from daycare, including 441 kids. 15/
We don’t have sufficient tests but what if there are great test procedures, checks, better ventilation & outdoor activities? It hasn’t worked very well. Thanks n some part 16/…
Does it spread differently among grade school kids? Based on class size? Is PE safe?

Here’s the answer: we really don’t know. We don’t.

Of course we want kids at school but a pretty good tell is that the president isn’t interested in the data anyway. 17/
What about online education? Can kids learn remotely? Which topics? High school? K-8? I’m no expert but I bet I’m not confidnent Trump and Devos even care. 18/
What I do know is that when school was cut short in the Spring, we had a shortage of PPE, no ability to test & 100s of cases.

So what’s changed since then? 19/
Let’s say you aggressively assume that 1-2% of kids are susceptible. And that kids can infect adults but maybe not as easily for some reason.

Is that enough for a hot spot? Is that a good risk for your kids? For you? For teachers? 20/
I know that if a kid has lice at school that 4000 trumpets blow, the sky falls, parents weep, & hazmat suits come out.

@JaimePrimak asked me today what the hell happens when the Coronavirus email inevitably goes out? That half the teachers are out? A kid is in the hospital? 21/
Maybe you’ve heard that kids rarely show symptoms. True. Except for some infrequent but severe symptoms. And some mysterious other symptoms.

But we don’t know why yet & that’s not extremely comforting.22/
Another thing. What is it you need again to instruct kids. Trying to remember the word for them. It feels like there’s someone else involved to be considered.

Ahhh. You know the word. They’re adults. They’re underpaid. They frequently buy supplies out of their own pocket. 23/
One thing I’ve noticed is that while everyone wants kids in schoolsD I don’t hear anyone close to the topic— administrators, teachers, mayors— say they have a plan.

The president and a few governors want this to be a political wedge regardless of who’s at risk. 24/
You want schools to open? Close the bars. Get cases down in RIGHT NOW so August can be manageable. Catch up on testing. Look at the data. Come up with a plan. Stop using kids as pawns. 25/
Schools and education are underpinning of society. The care we take in thinking about their safety & their future says a lot about us. 26/
Many of us feel like we will be letting our kids down if they don’t have an ideal school year. That’s who we are as parents. We want for them what we had. And EVERYTHING we didn’t. 27/
We need to remember this is months of hardship. Not decades. And that kids are sponges.

Maybe they will miss some math. And maybe they will learn real human compassion.

Maybe they will miss some history.
And maybe they will live some history. 28/
Maybe they will miss science.
And maybe they will spend more time with their parents looking up at the stars.

Maybe they will teach us how to work and gain self-esteem.
And we will learn what Tic Toc is? 29/
I think this whole experience will have a lot to do with what we make of it. It will have some bad for our kids. And we will need to work to offset it with some good. 30/
Maybe they will get to see adults helping others. Or getting involved in the political process. Maybe these experiences will form them into better adults. /end
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