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July 13, 2020 · OPINION

Students’ return to schools important to equality

By Donald Mason

I have been a taxpayer in Lee District for over 50 years. I attended schools in Fauquier County from first grade through graduation from Fauquier High in 1969. I can remember segregation (“separate but equal”) and integration. I have degrees in education from Virginia State University and Virginia Tech and additional studies at George Mason University and the University of Maryland at College Park.

With all of that being said and looking at COVID-19 and the opening of school, I have the following concerns, regardless of what may come out of Richmond:

• How will social distancing be maintained at bus stops?

• How will social distancing be maintained in the hallways at schools?

• How will social distancing be maintained in the cafeteria at lunch time? Yes, students may eat in their classrooms, but they still have to get their lunches.

And then, the big one is the whole idea of distance learning:

• Fauquier County has, at best, fair cell service, with internet service far behind.

• With a large percentage of the county with fair to poor to no-reasonable-cost internet service, please, explain to me how distance learning is supposed to work.

• COVID-19 has brought back, to me, memories of separate but equal education. If you do not have the tools, then how can our youth achieve equally when given assignments. This is beyond lip service and to say we have laptop computers out and sprinkled in a few hot spots in an effort to improve service amounts to nothing more than trying to catch a fly in a wind story.

This is not the time for a feel-good approach. I personally have gone down this road before. As I have said before, we (the school system and the county) can not have equity in education without first having equality for all!

The tools and support that make education possible need to be available to all students.

Therefore, I propose the following:

• Option 1 — Open all schools on time, giving those parents who chose to homeschool, etc. that right, as long as the law is followed.

Should there be an outbreak at a given school, that school is closed for a require time for deep cleaning and then reopened with the sick students staying home until such time doctors’ notes can be provided for them to safely return.

• Option 2 — Keeping in mind social distancing, then perhaps split shifting of the students may or should be looked at as a method to reduce the total number of students in a class or building.

• Option 3 — Year-round education to reduce the total numbers in classrooms.

Option 1 perhaps has the greatest risk from a medical perspective. However, I believe the students have been exposed to lots of people since they have been out of classes. Many have been in stores and other places with their parents. This option has the least financial impact.

Option 2 will greatly impact the need for bus transportation and perhaps increased demand on instructional staff. There will be financial impact. Additionally, the school buildings will begin to show more signs of lacking preventive maintenance.

Option 3 will require more staff. It will also have more impact in terms of war on the buildings and demands on the maintenance staff to keep up.

With all of that being said, I think schools should be open as close to on schedule as possible, again with parents upon request being given the choice to opt out of public school and to educate their children in accordance with state law.

The writer works as the Prince William County Public Schools field representative for construction projects. He represented Lee District on the Fauquier County School Board from 2012 through 2019.
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Conditd · July 20, 2020 at 11:10 am
So teachers lives, staff lives, and older peoples lives mean nothing, let them die as long as you can send your child to school 5 days a week. Are you willing to pay 100% of teachers and staff salary and health costs when they catch the virus? Are you willing to go to school with your child and insure all have masks, wash their hands and social distance fro others?
I didn’t think so!
Alohaexpress · July 18, 2020 at 11:20 am
FairandBalanced has anger issues
Jeffersonian American · July 16, 2020 at 7:39 pm
The Government-run Indoctrination Centers have been an unmitigated disaster for Virginia and our nation over the past half-century of a total and complete Marxist takeover of the education system. I should know- I witnessed the beginnings of that unwelcome takeover as a product of Fairfax County public schools beginning in the 1960s when Fairfax County was still recognizable as a vibrant and thriving Southern, Virginia, and American English-speaking community. There were zero foreign language signage or languages spoken in 1960s Fairfax County, unless you were studying at a local high school, like Robert E. Lee High School, named after one of the truly greatest Christians and sons ever produced by Virginia and our nation; or perhaps you were studying foreign languages at Fairfax High School- the affectionate "Home of the Rebels." Today, there are more than 200 foreign languages spoken by non-English speaking students in Fairfax County Public Schools alone.

Clearly, homeschooling or private schools are the only good options for parents who wish to prevent their children from becoming little Committed Marxists at the hands of a thoroughly Radical Left Democrat Public School System- a system that teaches "equality" except for my race, my heritage and my ancestors' history- which is to be systematically erased from the so-called American Multiculturalism and Diversity coursework in the public schools (and Fauquier County's "Goals 2015," for example).

Better Homeschooling or Community Hedge School choices, parental control, return of Judeo-Christian teaching and prayer, return of the Ten Commandments and a removal of the Cultural Marxism in the Fauquier County and U.S. Public School systems are the key to American survival in the near future.
LauraNixBerg · July 14, 2020 at 9:08 pm
You can still choose the 100% virtual option.
Concerned mom · July 14, 2020 at 3:48 pm
They are making a big mistake opening schools two days a week. I think they are are going to end up with a truancy problem for the parents that live in fear of sending there children. My children won't be there. I advise other parents who feel the same to not send them.
DonkeyFarmer · July 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm
They made the decision, against the wishes of the majority of the parents, to have school 2 days a week, and everyone must be masked up.
brandonj · July 14, 2020 at 1:27 pm
I agree, it wasn't very transparent. Did they make a decision last night?
Savefauquiercounty2019 · July 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm
After listening to the school board meeting last night, I have concluded the competency level of Fauquier County School board members and administrators, leaders are seriously lacking. Any administrator during their interview with the school board should have questioned the age and safety of school buses and the number of housekeeping staff. Last night, it sounded like animals get better treatment. You'd get arrested for leaving your dog to suffer in a vehicle during summer months. The lack of housekeeping staff proves the school board has had little concern about the spread of pathogens. Fauquier county employees should band together and oust out these so called experts, leaders. Teachers, why are you tolerating this ? Our children deserve better.
DonkeyFarmer · July 14, 2020 at 12:12 pm
The school board is not listening to the parents/taxpayers. They are listening to the teachers union.

We need to elect a new school board.
DonkeyFarmer · July 14, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Of course the teachers union got what it wanted at the school board meeting last night. Even though the overwhelming majority of speakers wanted 5 day a week school.

The only people speaking against going back to school were teachers and bus drivers.

All those parents that care about your kids education, officially withdraw them from public school and homeschool them. Deny the school district the funding from your child. You are going to be homeschooling them anyway.

On top of that your child is going to be required to wear a mask. For bus riders that will be 9 hours a day of mask wearing. This is going to make your child sick.
AmericanPatriot · July 14, 2020 at 12:08 pm
I propose everyone grow up. This is the flu - period. The 'curve' has been flattened.

The majority of deaths attributed to this occurred in nursing homes, and were the result of old age, not a bat flu.
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