Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Letter to My Children's School

David Burns received a letter from his 4 year old daughter's school outlining "Phase I reopening guidelines for childcare."

Here he reports on the letter:
What would a day at Sunnybrook look like according to the Phase I reopening guidelines for childcare?
In Phase I, which began on Friday, May 15th and scheduled to last 2-4 weeks, childcare centers are allowed to be open with the following guidelines from Licensing, CDC and VDH (This is by no means a comprehensive list!): 
Class sizes limited to the capacity of 10 individuals per room including staff
Social distancing measures must be in place.  Students must be encouraged to remain 6 feet apart in the classroom and on the playground, which also includes the placement of cots for naptime.  Classroom routines are established for individual play and limited use of shared materials.  Toys are to be disinfected between uses by children.
Daily Health screenings and temperature checks for students and staff.
When feasible, staff members and older children would wear face coverings. (Cloth face coverings should not be placed on babies and children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.)  
Parents and visitors will not be allowed to enter the building due to the recommendation of limiting the amount of contact within a space.
Parents are asked to provide lunches and snacks daily.
Groups of children will remain together as a cohesive group each day.  We will not combine or mix groups of children to ensure limited contact in the event of a COVID-19 exposure.  Because mixing groups is highly discouraged, we will not be able to host any on-site programs (Aquarium, Living Museum, Via Goode, etc.) or enrichment programs (Soccer Shots, Rock-It Science, Starz, Fun Bus, etc.).  There will be no field trips scheduled.
Increased outdoor time as well as opening up the doors/windows to increase building ventilation.  Water play is not allowed.
The Burns response after the shool pushed back re-opening for another month due to an inability to comply with the edicts from the governor:
This is very sad news, but I see that fear continues to triumph over courage. Children play a very minor role in this disease. They do not transmit the disease nor suffer from Covid 19 in any meaningful way when compared to much more dangerous diseases for children, such as influenza. In comparison to every other disease available to children, this one would be among the least risky. There is no reason to sequester or shelter children for their protection or anyone else's. There is not yet even a proven case of a child transmitting the disease to an adult. There is only suggestion and qualification that it "may."

Furthermore, continued segregation and sequestering of children from each other and indoors will present health risks that are far more serious than Covid 19. The immune systems of our children need to developed, and that can only happen by interacting with the environment around them. Emotionally, our children learn how to cope and cooperate through play with other children. Finally, the psychological damage being inflicted upon children during this pandemic is truly horrifying. Children need to know they are loved by courageous adults. What message are we sending when we refuse them our attention and love because of our fears? Especially when those fears are not grounded in any scientific evidence?

The risks presented to our children are much higher if we continue to be terrified of them. They need their lives returned to normal immediately. We need to stop fearing children and start cheering them. Trade in your fear for courage.

Best Regards,
David Burns

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