Remarkable. Nearly a quarter-million Americans did not “learn to live with Covid” and he continues to pour gasoline on the fire of resistance to sound health practices. (He’s wrong about the flu, by the way, but you probably knew that.) UPDATE: In 2018, the worst flu year in Arkansas in decades, there were 140 flu deaths. The coronavirus toll is already 10 times that, with the year not done.

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At least Governor Hutchinson continues to encourage safe practices, though his Ready for Business policy and mandated school opening have driven us to the Top 10 worst states for coronavirus.

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Maumelle High went virtual this week, to name one of many school disruptions on account of illness, quarantine or both.

One of my favorite COVID-related local Twitter accounts commented:

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And speaking of commentary:

I recommend this editorial by 17-year-old Mary Ruth Taylor in the Central High Tiger about teachers’ recent job action to work at home to persuade the district that in-person instruction hasn’t been safe. It’s an even-handed view of the action itself and acknowledges different circumstances that make virtual learning hard for many students.

She concludes the district punishment, a one-day pay dock and suspensions up to five days, was disproportionate. Also, none are so brilliant as those who agree with my belief that the responses from Governor Hutchinson and his education secretary Johnny Key, who controls the Little Rock School District, were out of line. This was particularly so in light of Central’s shut down soon after the punishment was announced for many Central teachers. She wrote:

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In a recently released statement, Secretary of Education Johnny Key described the LREA actions as an “absurd, eleventh-hour scheme to create even more disruption for LRSD students and families.”

We cannot imagine our teachers scheming to intentionally disrupt our education. What an infuriatingly absurd and divisive accusation.

Kids need their teachers, but teaching can be done virtually. If teachers do not feel safe at school, they should have the choice to instruct from home.

In a statement released to KATV, Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “We have had a good start to this school year and we have handled the expected challenges with the well being of our students and teachers as the highest priority. With a declining positivity rate in Pulaski County and with the safety measures in place, it is difficult to understand the resistance to teaching in the classroom.”

In the LREA’s statement released Sunday, there were complaints that disinfecting is not taking place routinely or with any consistency. In some cases, social distancing is impossible to maintain in classrooms. The challenges of educating in a global pandemic are perhaps being handled to the best of the schools’ abilities, but evidently those best efforts aren’t enough. Multiple schools in the district have had to close temporarily because of positive tests for the coronavirus. Teachers have every reason to be concerned. Now our school campus is closed,  because at least 85 students have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and have to be quarantined. How can the district justify punishing teachers for fearing that schools are not safe, while at the same time affirming their fears by closing schools?