Education worth risk
There has been much discussion as to whether schools should be opened, concerns about health risks versus long term damage to the children’s lives if schools do not open. All are appropriate.
Schools have been closed since March. Children have played with their friends in the streets, yards or homes as children do. I am confident that the schools are going to meet if not exceed guidelines to provide a safe environment. Are the children less safe in a managed school setting?
Children who were at risk academically before COVID-19 are that much more behind now. Just how far behind is best observed by a teacher. Can that be done “virtually?” Many did not participate in the virtual program when the schools closed. Some do not have a home life that encourages them, some have special needs, some have needs that have not been identified or have other situations that will not do well with “virtual learning.” Early childhood learning and brain development requires personal interaction. All students learn much by hearing the questions asked by others.
Schools have been open in Europe for months, with minimal problems. The virus has been around for months. Have you read that any child below the age of 10 without other health issues has tested positive? As a matter of fact, that situation should be the focus of a study to understand this virus.
If a teacher has an existing health risk, stay safe, make virtual teaching your preferred position. I would remind others that there is no evidence that young children are carriers. The grocery clerks, doctors, nurses, police, and fire personnel and many are working in situations that are at higher risk of transmission. There are risks, but we will get through them if we each do what we can.
My Christian sisters and brothers are most likely familiar with this verse from 2 Timothy: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. The power this spirit gives is not power in the conventional sense of domination. And this is an area where Christianity has tragically missed the meaning of Jesus’ teachings.
We find ourselves in a historical moment to embrace more fully what it means that all are made in the image and likeness of God and that all are created equal. A huge part of our inability to live from these ideals is a belief in a small God, a God of limits, a stingy God.
My recent study of theology has led me to the conclusion that God is the God of abundance. This God will lead us to a better society if we will shed our tribal mindset. It does require a revolution of a sort. A non-violent revolution of embracing, yes, that all lives matter, but a forthright look in the mirror shows how often in our individual thoughts and actions and in the history of the church and nation that black and other marginal peoples’ lives have mattered way less.
Incarnational theology calls us to put some “flesh in the game” in the same way that Jesus did. Those of us bold enough to proclaim we follow Jesus the Christ are called, as Richard Rohr says, to incarnate love with our own bodies in solidarity with those marginalized by unjust systems. There are as many ways to do this. I pray all of us find a way live out the deeper meaning of the Gospel and our Declaration of Independence.