WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we heard from Ohioans sharing their feelings about the impending school year, and the state's plans on how to safely reopen classes.
Anonymous from Worthington
I am having trouble reconciling the news that I’m watching (skyrocketing numbers) with the assumption that everyone seems to be making that we (teachers) should just "do our job." We have had no place to share our concerns without feeling shamed and having people ask for their tax money back if we are going to just “collect a paycheck.”
Education officials keep talking about being world-class educators and teaching children with 21st Century methods. This means straying from the traditional model of Monday-Friday, 8-4. Otherwise, it is clear that teachers are just glorified day care and you don’t actually want us to try new methods (distance learning).
I am terrified to bring the virus home to my mother, who helps with child care. It's obvious that the virus is going to be spread in schools, and it baffles me that we took the spring off for a handful of cases. But now that we are faced with an arbitrary date (first day of school), we are just going to go ahead and go back?
Anonymous from Grandview
I am very hopeful that the children can return to five-day-a-week instruction. While the transition to online learning went well here, our whole family would prefer in-class learning. I believe that district officials are making the best judgment for our kids to learn, but also keep them safe.
Anonymous from Columbus
Not great. Ohio State University keeps sending us emails about how social distancing is going to work. I keep crying at night because I can't imagine being on campus and then returning to my home, where I live with my parents and grandparents, all high-risk individuals. I keep seeing the pictures people post on Instagram, of them at bars, restaurants, traveling, and think about how I have to share at least a few germs with them in the fall.
I just want to graduate without killing my family. This all feels like being abandoned. The only people who truly care about people's life chances are few and far between and not in power. This city feels like it’s held in the vice grip of expansive capitalism, that values profit over human life every time.
If our leaders cared, they would respond like New Zealand did. But they can't imagine life any other way than this, which is always, those at the bottom or even the middle can go. God.
Phil Jackson from Columbus
Schools should be free to open up once state and local leaders feel they can meet in-person to have the discussion, instead of deciding through remote video conference calls
Anonymous from Columbus
I am extremely frustrated that we are settling for these choices. There are other options beyond “reopening schools completely” and “I will lose my job if schools do not reopen completely.” It involves all of us expressing our displeasure and anger at city, state, and federal politicians that are ignoring science and their ability to do something to protect all of us - financially, our health, and our careers.
Voting is nice and all - do that - but hold the people that were voted in accountable for representing our interests right now. Call, email, text, protest, strike, support others so they can strike, protest, talk to your friends about calling/emailing/texting/protesting. The longer we put off action, the more likely they get to implement their shitty schemes and claim they did not know there were other options.
Every other country in the world has had to respond to this very same crisis. You can see a whole bunch of options and the outcomes. Check out what New Zealand did, for example. Pick favorites. Demand those.
So how am I feeling? Disappointed and anxious.
How do you feel about schools reopening in the fall? WOSU wants to hear from students, teachers and parents about your thoughts and experiences.
Answer this question using the form below, and try to keep below 1,000 words. Your response may be edited for length and clarity.