My letter to New Orleans officials on school opening and the risk of the Delta variant.

We need to press pause. We have kids from 5-12 going back to school with no virtual options. They can’t be vaccinated. And covid is surging amongst kids. Last year we gave kids a virtual option and Covid was less harmful to kids. Now it’s more harmful and we’re taking that option away?


And of kids 12-17, according to the governor they’re only 13% vaccinated. So covid will run rampant amongst them as well.


The leadership talks about “learning loss” from LEAP scores. But I know last year we pulled our kid from LEAP testing when our kids school failed to enforce masking/social distancing. So they got a 0 for him. How many parents opted to not participate in LEAP last year? How many 0s did schools get? How much of the so called “learning loss” simply happened because of of 0s from parents protecting their kids. 


And while I trust the science that the CDC says (that proper masking and social distancing can protect our children) I don’t trust that the schools will be able to enforce those guidelines. When my wife did go to pick up our son from LEAP,  they had kids in the cafeteria sitting elbow to elbow, some masked improperly, and others unmasked. Meanwhile, faculty just stood in the cafeteria and did nothing to enforce the masking rules in place. When that happens this year, Covid will run rampant.


They also say that adults vaccinating is another way we protect our kids under 12. Orleans is 50% vaccinated. Louisiana as a whole is under 40%. So if parents are not vaccinated as much as they should be, that’s just more vectors of transmission that will go through their kids. And if parents reject masking and vaccines, it’s probable their kids will also fight back against masking.

The superintendent spoke about not wanting to lose a generation of children. Children can’t learn from the hospital. Children can’t learn on a ventilator. Children can’t learn while dead. I feel that the insistence that we must return to regular learning is based on April 2021 thinking when the Delta variant wasn’t the threat it is now. How many positive children’s tests have taken place in the last week when school isn’t in session? How many kids will come to school that are already infected?


Which brings me to another point. We don’t know what social distancing measures these families have taken to protect their own kids? Shouldn’t we be requiring a negative Covid 19 test for unvaccinated kids returning to class? If we had at least that, we could at least hang our hat that it would be unlikely that nobody will start the year with an outbreak. The plan of the schools seems very reactive. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 


And remember, since we unwisely went to a 100% charter system, any parent who opts their children out of their school loses their spot and has to try again with the OneApp. That puts more pressure on parents who feel that in person learning is just too dangerous to risk in person attendance.


We can’t let children be experiments. We can’t just rush forward bull-headed with April 2021 mentality. 
We either need a required distance learning option for all schools or we need to take a pause on the start of the school year, especially for those kids who can’t be vaccinated, to see how this surge plays out. 
Help us protect our children. 


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