I was sad to see the letter “It is time for CCUSD to consider outdoor learning”. The author is making strong statements against the teachers in CCUSD regarding returning to in-person work albeit outdoors. Outdoor school sounds enticing but when compared to the possible consequences, is it worth the risk?
COVID-19 is now a year old. In that time, scientists and medical professionals have learned a tremendous amount about COVID-19; conversely, these same experts know very little about the virus, particularly the long-term effects.
The Chicken Pox virus used to be a part of childhood, now children are given vaccines to prevent the after-effects of that virus, primarily Shingles. No one knows what the after-effects of COVID-19 will be (even for the asymptomatic individuals): long term fatigue, kidney failure, brain damage, pulmonary failure, heart disease; the list goes on.
Additionally, contact tracing has long gone out the door. For the hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles that have contracted the virus, many of whom were careful and wore masks, there is no method to trace how, why, when, or where. This implies that there could also be unknowns on how the virus is transmitted.
We tried to attend a birthday party outdoors last September. It was limited to 4 families and was held outdoors at the park with clear guidelines on safety such as mask wearing and social distancing. Sadly, one of the families was very lax about wearing masks and social distancing. We learned that not everyone cares about the health and safety of others, even among friends.
We also have a tenant that contracted the virus. Even with a positive test, he was lax with quarantine. As of today, he has sickened several of his family members, including his dad and aunt who perished over the holidays. His sister, a young mother who is now positive, said that he told no one he was positive.
Now, she wonders if she will ever see her children grow up. There are numerous stories of people not respecting quarantine when testing positive, including cases of children attending school instead of quarantining.
With this in mind, how can a parent demand that teachers put their health and the health of their families at risk when there are so many unknowns, and many families are not taking safety seriously? Every person has their own comfort level with regards to safety during this crisis.
All I ask is that you respect others and their boundaries just as CCUSD has been so successful at teaching our children about boundaries.
You state “study after study has shown that being outside when combined with wearing masks and social distancing…is up to 20 times safer”. Who is going to police the children for wearing proper masks and keeping their distance? And, “20 times safer” is minimal safety with numbers around 1 million infected in Los Angeles (or 10% of the population) which equates to 1-2 infected students per class. CCUSD has not yet had a child die from COViD; let us keep that statistic.
“In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” (www.cdc.gov)
Another aspect is the health of schooling our children outdoors between the traffic, the nanoparticles from the brakes and tires, and other pollution: our outdoor air is not healthy. CCUSD spent a small fortune installing air cleaners in the classrooms for a reason.
Outdoor schooling is possibly an option for a few, but parents are not in a position to make that decision for everyone. There is so much propaganda and numerous so-called “experts” touting cures and false information with no formal training whatsoever. The only “experts” are those trained in science and medicine that have a history of publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
If you care about the students and their social development, maybe focus your attention on developing programs that the students can safely engage in. For example, Zoom Minecraft parties after school, or encouraging the school to allow social time on Zoom at the beginning and end of school.
If there is a child at risk, maybe CCUSD can start a friendship circle with Facetimes, phone calls, walk-bys, etc by other children. Maybe this is a program CCUSD could initiate for all children that are at risk of dropping off socially whether by mental health or other health issues.
With the skills and education of the parents of Culver City, I am certain that activities can be created to help bridge the gap and keep our teachers and children safe.
— Beth Hyatt, Concerned Resident, Business Owner, and Parent