Editor: It is my understanding that a group of extremely vocal parents attended the school board meeting to demand 100 percent in-person schooling. I would like to state clearly that there is an equally large and perhaps larger group of parents who disagree with this demand if it does not meet the health and safety needs of children, staff, and administration.
The group of parents who appeared at the school board meeting organized a Facebook page where anyone who disagreed with this 100% attendance at school was belittled or dismissed. I believe a number of parents stayed within the group to monitor the discussion but a significant portion of them do not agree with the position being put forward. An alternative Facebook group was formed yesterday, “Loudoun Parents for Evidence-Based Safe Schooling” -overnight it has accumulated almost 2,000 followers.
As an initial invitee to the first group, I quickly removed myself when I saw the tone and tenor that was being put forward. Parents who expressed concerns about children with health issues were told, “Keep your kid at home.” When concern was expressed for teachers who might be put at risk, the response was, “They can quit.” All of these demands were justified with comments about “children’s mental health” and some additional points that families who survive on hourly wages will be placed in dire situations if their parents cannot return to work full time. While these things are undeniably important, the observable lack of care and concern for those who disagreed with their 100% school position calls into question the genuine nature of the concern for people who are useful to their cause.
I am submitting this letter to emphasize that a significant portion of parents in this community want schools to reopen in a safe and responsible manner, and are willing to work with the school to think around the practices and structures that have bound the school to physical locations and set schedules. We will not find an ideal scenario—there is no ideal scenario. There is, however, likely, an effective one if we can let go of trying to impose normalcy on an abnormal situation. I would invite each and every one of us to open our minds to new possibilities and adapt. It is how the human race has made it this far.
Betsy Scotto-Lavino, Aldie