Speak Out: Face masks, hybrid schooling discussed

Conversations spanning children wearing face masks, managing athletics and keeping hybrid schooling possibilities equitable continued as the reopening schools working groups wrapped up their third week of discussions.

• Anyone know how you have hybrid schooling for kindergartners who can’t read or use a computer? —‒ Chris Henry

• Chris Henry: A very real issue. Go to the DOE website and write an email if you’re concerned. Workgroups are still meeting and need to hear concerns! — Karen Clark

• Chris Henry: Yes, my grandson did this, and it worked. Zoom in the a.m. and then individual or small-group instruction in the afternoon. The district provided lots of resources, and we learned a great deal from apps and shows like Alpha Blocks and Number Blocks on YouTube and Netflix. They are fabulous learning shows. It can be done! —‒ Deb Sudduth-Bates

• Deb Sudduth-Bates: My daughter did Zoom kindergarten, as well. However, she had the benefit of six months of kindergarten in person before she had to do Zoom classes. I honestly don’t think it would be very successful if she had to start at the beginning. —‒ Stacy McDevitt

• Karen Clark: Workgroups —‒ do they actually have people in these workgroups that don’t work 9 to 5 and that have children? ‒— Beth Anne Poe-Houseman

• Beth Anne Poe-Houseman: Groups are listed on the DOE site, and meetings are from 5-6:30. You can ask questions before and send an email. They are on YouTube, so you can’t ask questions “live.” — Karen Clark

• Chris Henry: Most 5-year-olds I know seem better at using them than me. —‒ Daniel Washinski

• No solution will work for everyone. —‒ Angelia Kowalczy

• I am honestly thinking of home schooling mine. Both my kids seem to be doing so much better than being in the school with the crowded classrooms and teachers unable to spend one-on-one time with students. Not the teachers’ fault by any means; they are doing the best they can. I am able to do this, but I also know a lot of parents can’t. All I can say is I hope they figure things out, so those parents can prepare. ‒— Karinna Rodgers

• Except for kids like my son, who has asthma. Wearing a mask all day won’t work. —‒ Melissa Epperly

• Melissa Epperly: Same here. Plus, I worry about those parents who won’t keep their sick kid home, so then, my son with asthma gets really sick. ‒— Paula Cooper

• We need in-person learning. No masks. And back to normal life. Wash hands like you’re supposed to. Common sense. We can’t all halt our lives for a few. — Kimberly Taraila

• Constance Schneider: Thank you! Not enough people even think about how this affects students with special needs. I am a special-education teacher, and I see how hard this has been on my students and families. Parents of students in general education just have to be teachers for their kids. People don’t get that parents of students in special education have to be teachers, paras, OTs, PTs, speech therapists, behavior therapists and more for their child. Our students need to get back to their normal routine. ‒ Paige Smolka

• What about those students who live in an area with no internet service? ‒ Suzanne Snyder

• When are these people going to learn that none of this is going to be needed by the time schools open over two months from now? With the possible exception of the second half of March, it probably never was! Open the schools totally, play all the sports and learn to deal with a virus that will be around regardless! We can’t shut down forever! With the exception of a very specific group, this virus is a minimal threat to most people. We know who that group is and how to protect them. Let’s do that and let everyone get back to total normal! ‒ Mike Zimansky

• Mike Zimansky: Agree. ‒ Kelly Klerlein Boettcher

• Some perfectly healthy people have died of this for no obvious reason; others have been left with permanent disabilities. Numerous children have developed secondary illnesses as a result of contracting it. Ignoring that, what do we do with students who are at risk? What about those who live with someone at risk and they may bring it home to them? What about teachers who may be at risk? What about teachers who may live with someone at risk that they could bring it home to? Sticking our heads in the sands and pretending this is just going to go away isn’t going to cut it. Numbers are going back up, over a hundred thousand Americans have died, and people continue to make it worse by fighting against masks and distancing guidelines. ‒ Michael McKain

• I have an underlying lung condition I was born with. Frankly, it makes me sad that people feel I’m expendable, not to mention my own parents who are in their 70s. Some perfectly healthy people are dying. I personally know quite a few people who have had this. One nearly died and was in the hospital for three months. A former co-worker’s parent died. So, that’s OK? Bull. Everyone’s life matters here, especially on something we can take precautions with. Yes, there are car accidents. heart attacks and other ways people can pass away. This is still an invisible enemy to most people. It’s still being learned about. I really wish people would have some compassion for each other. It’s that lack of respect that keeps people inside their homes right now from going out because they could die or bring it to a loved one who could die. I am not expendable, and neither is anyone else in the “risk” category. Shame on you. ‒ Geralyn Aellis

• Geralyn Aellis: Yes. So much of this. No one is disposable. ‒ Robin Belardo Jadick

• You are entitled to your feeling, and I mine. I contracted a communicable disease a few years ago. Whooping cough. I was 39 and was hospitalized for five days. Try being an asthmatic with a lung and throat infection that’s a highly contagious droplet-transmitted infection. Just like COVID. Doctors have no idea how I got it; they said I probably used a shopping cart that someone had sneezed on. I felt like I was going to die several times. It’s horrible to have my then-10-year-old daughter watch me convulse in coughs with mucus that blocked my breathing. And most people don’t die from that either. All I’m saying is that you don’t know the shoes of the other person. It took me six months to “recover” fully. My body had to regrow the lining of my throat, and I had difficulty swallowing. Years later, I have complications to this day from that illness. So, yes, I want to be protected. I want my child to be protected, my husband, my parents, etc. I’m certainly not going to apologize for feeling that way. You are entitled to the way you feel. I’m simply saying everyone should have respect about this, and unfortunately, they don’t. There are many that feel the at-risk population is expendable. If you know anyone who has a loved one in long-term care, maybe you should hear their perspective, too. I am not making you do anything. If you want to go out, do that, live your best life. I’m simply stating that without precautions and protection, that waiter, clerk, door handle, etc., could infect you, a loved one, your wife, your neighbor, and the world looks like a different place in an ICU room with no family around you, through a videocall to say goodbye. I have known people whose lives have been ripped apart because of this. All I’m saying is, perspective. ‒ Geralyn Aellis

• This is absolutely ridiculous. Open schools, do the best you can monitoring kids and just make it happen. Zoom learning is a joke. If it’s safe for riots, it’s safe for school. ‒ Daniel Washinski

• What would we do with children that don’t handle this well? ‒ Candy Healy

• You want to destroy society? Hell, my wife is a teacher, and this lockdown is causing all kinds of issues because of the lack of a solid family. You should see what happens when Granny departs. Which side of the knife is sharpest? School is pretty much the only stability for some of these kids. ‒ Bob Beckman

• Bob Beckman: I didn’t say it wasn’t causing issues. I’m a teacher, too! But all anyone is thinking about are the kids because they don’t have symptoms. But they are carriers, as with most viruses. School employees need to be thought about, too. ‒ Kristin Bergner

• Stop allowing a few demented, power-hungry communists dictate the entire population. None of this is about a virus! ‒ Freda Barrett

• There is no way special-needs children will wear a mask, and they can’t stay out of school forever, as they need routine as much if not more than other children. ‒ Norma Lynn Evans-Hudson

• My son will not be wearing a mask to school. Period! ‒ Nancy Christine Denisar

• Geralyn Aellis: Because many young children will not wear them, especially those with special needs. That’s a long school day to expect a child to wear a mask. ‒ Norma Lynn Evans-Hudson

• How are online home-schooling programs run? Somehow, they make those work. In my son’s elementary school, they were “lending” Chromebooks to the students for schoolwork. I know that not every parent has someone to stay home with their child, but couldn’t there be small school groups that get together for school? For parents who have to work or for people who cannot access the internet? Small groups of 10-12 kids with someone from the school/grade. To assist with questions from the students? I have no idea how sports and extracurricular activities could be handled. My heart breaks for these children. Possibly do as the professional teams are doing and have games that are livestreamed with no fans. Lunches, the schools could get in touch with hospitals. All meals are delivered to patients in their rooms, and they aren’t just brown-bag lunches. Figure out the safest, most efficient way to make this happen. School supplies can be donated like they normally are and distributed to those in need as they usually are. I’m not an expert on any of this, but I’m trying to think of the most logical and safest ways to get our kids adjusted to this new normal. ‒ Michelle Anna Hellwege

• As a kindergarten teacher, I can’t see my students wearing it for even 10-15 minutes. They are touching their faces and picking noses, and just constantly touching each other. It would be nice to have them come into a classroom and see what it’s really like. Rules are enforced without them having the experience of being in a classroom these days. What kind of protection are we going to get as staff members? Are we going to get the same amount of support as the doctors and nurses have in these past couple of months? We don’t get the pay and support we need to start with, so why would it be different now? I have to use funding pages just to get the supplies I need for my classroom or pay for it myself! If students are supposed to eat lunches in their classrooms, then that means 26 kindergartners will have their face masks off for at least 20-30 minutes, spreading germs not only to the other students, but the teachers in that room. They need constant help opening their milks, cutting food, etc. Who is going to help with that? If we get sick, all that is going to happen is we get replaced. What kind of education are they going to get when people are constantly leaving and this is their first experience at school? How are they going to get excited about school if they can only see me on a screen or if I can’t even give them a hug when they ask for one? ‒ Giselle Garcia

• If the students stay home on some days, who will be at home to monitor? ‒ Kristen Williams

• Some parents must work, and working from home is not an option. Children at age 12 are too old to attend child care and, therefore, would stay home alone. I personally would not give my 12-year-old access to the internet while I am not home. So, all schooling would have to take place at night. My problem is that my child is not old enough to stay home while I work. He would have to attend child care for the full day, which is going to cost me more than I can afford. And again, we would have to do all of his schooling at night. ‒ Maria Milliken

• Kids are low-risk populations. I worry that keeping these kids out of school will create bigger problems in the long-term … drug addiction, suicide, psychosocial issues. These problems are already rampant in our kids, and this will certainly make things worse. Let those parents wishing to keep their kids home stay home. I’d rather my sons get the socialization and athletics they need to keep them happy and healthy. Also, how can you open youth sports, but close high school sports? Seems like a double standard. ‒ Sharon Buchanan Urban

• One of my concerns is that the children of working parents are being shuffled to several different places to cover care. Changes are happening so often that it’s impossible to secure care. There are more exposure possibilities in this scenario. Also, more exposure with the community relaxing restrictions. ‒ Denise Estevez Franklin

• What about the families who don’t have child care and depend on children being in school for the parents who need to work full time? And their bosses refuse to allow them to WFH? How would that even be managed? Would there be a law temporarily in effect that keeps their jobs? ‒ Jessica Pappas

• Reposting from an earlier thread: The privilege in these comments is incredibly disconcerting. Yes, the pandemic will still be in full swing and incredibly dangerous by the time the school year begins. But for everyone ignoring perspectives other than their own, please let me try to bring some of them to light. Not every family has the opportunity and the facilities to sustain remote education. For example, both of my parents work full-time, essential jobs. I am extremely lucky to be able to have everything I need to succeed in online education without any assistance. I have a stable home life, an internet connection, my own laptop and a quiet space where I can complete my work. Please, for a second, imagine the students that do not have those things. I was recently involved in a conversation with a teacher at a public secondary school in my state who said that around 10% of her students participated in remote learning. While your mind may go to their conduct, many of them simply do not have the facilities to complete remote-learning assignments. These factors are often ignored. In addition, another semester of remote learning is practically impossible for students with severe disabilities, especially when combined with the factors mentioned above. Don’t want your children to attend school this fall? OK. There are tons of online schools and home-schooling programs that are proven to work. But, and I cannot stress this enough, these do not work for everyone. If they did, then traditional school would lose traction. I wholeheartedly respect the viewpoints stated above, but I know that when planning for school or any other activities, one must see all of the perspectives. That is how issues are resolved, and I urge any decision-makers out there to have rational, well-thought-out conversations with the people that they will be affecting. ‒ Mallory Strmel

• Stop ruining our kids’ education and well-being. It’s a virus that is not as deadly as advertised. People will get it just like all other coronaviruses. Best chance of catching any coronavirus is face-to-face conversation for 10-15 minutes within 2 feet, and that’s it. You actually have the same probability of getting hit by a car as dying of COVID-19. I have witnessed baseball and softball played as normal already. Practice good hygiene and make sure to keep your immune system healthy. Life is all about risk, and putting kids through this crap is actually making things worse for some kids. ‒ Scott Miller

• As a full-time working mom with a child who has an IEP, my child needs to be in school. I don’t have the ability to be home all day and make sure my child is participating in Zooms and completing her schoolwork. They have to come up with something better! ‒ Jessica Lewis

• This is a lot for a child to remember, especially the younger ones. They’re going to want to play, and I can already hear teachers yelling and screaming at students out of frustration of getting sick. I don’t mind them doing remote learning, but I also think parents should be compensated for doing 50% of the work. And kids need help from parents about four hours out of the day. ‒ Delia Ocasio

Trump administration extends visa ban to non-immigrants
Jun 22nd, 2020
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Monday extended a ban on green cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year and added many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations.
The ban, while temporary, would amount to major restructuring of legal immigration if made permanent, a goal that had eluded the administration before the pandemic. Long-term changes that would prevent many asylum seekers from getting work permits and would allocate high-tech worker visas differently are also being sought.
Business groups pressed hard to limit the changes, but got little of what they wanted, marking a victory for immigration hardliners as Trump seeks to further solidify their support ahead of the November election.
The ban on new visas applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology companies, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.

• So, Trump is still allowing immigrants in who will pick veggies and cut up the animals, the only jobs immigrants routinely come here for which were not closed by the coronavirus shutdowns. You know, the same jobs unemployed Americans could take if they wanted. Even Steve Miller knows Trump’s base won’t do those jobs. Most of his base could never do the jobs much of the H-1B visa-holders take either, but he tries to claim they could. ‒ John Smith

• John Smith: What’s the Democrats’ plan? ‒ Steven Lenhart

• John Smith: Poultry plant workers are actually compensated extremely well. ‒ Will Freeman

• But who’s going to work in his resorts? They aren’t giving out visas, specifically H-2B visas, which he uses to run his resorts. ‒ Chris Henry

• Exactly! Stop giving people handouts for years on end that aren’t disabled, and we’ll see jobs fill up. ‒ Shannon RS

• Welfare is a way of life for some. Try and make them work, and you will see a whole new wave of terrorism. ‒ Stephen Terrance

• You mean the billions of dollars in corporate welfare and subsidies? The things that Republicans love to hand out? As for having nonviolent criminals do the jobs, guess you never saw “Cool Hand Luke” or “The Shawshank Redemption.” ‒ William Mazzariello

Petition launched to remove Confederate statue, flag in Georgetown
Jun 22nd, 2020

GEORGETOWN — A line in the sand with ties to slavery and Civil War history has been drawn over a Confederate monument and flag on the grounds of the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum in Georgetown.
A petition movement launched late last week on change.org had garnered more than 1,200 supporters calling for the removal of the Delaware Confederate Monument as of 10 p.m. Monday evening.

• The racist Confederate flag needs to go, and we should all be speaking out against this monument celebrating treason. The fact that the Georgetown Historical Society and the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum are so proud of the monument says all we need to know. ‒ Becca Challman

• Join the discussion … what discussion? Anything said against this is viewed as racist, hate speech and will not even be considered by the other side. There are no more discussions about things anymore, just hate and disrespect that has become so builtup on both sides that speech no longer makes any impact. Only actions are acknowledged now. I hope to God that I am wrong, but we all know there is no good ending to this. ‒ Cortney Fisher

• Keep it up, you liberal idiots. ‒ Cody Waters

• Why are you sticking up for traitors to our country? That’s not very patriotic. ‒ Chris Henry

• No, I think you are missing it. Those traitors, as you call them, are descendants of the original traitors to Britain. In short, we are all traitors, so one can’t cherry-pick. ‒ Jon Walczak

• And had we lost the war for independence, that’s how the British would think of us. But we didn’t lose, and history is written by the winners. So, get over yourself. ‒ William Mazzariello

• Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ‒ Frederick Tate

• Wait. Fifteen hundred “people” of the 973,764 residents (not all who voted even are)? Only .15% of the population gets to decide what history stays and what goes? I’m sorry history offends people, but if it wasn’t for the past, we wouldn’t have freedom today. How about some real news? ‒ Jeannine Marie Blessing

• Jeannine Marie Blessing: You do know the Confederate Army was fighting so some people wouldn’t have freedom, right? Right? This is why history shouldn’t be “taught” by statues. ‒ Elizabeth Magnani

• Trying to get rid of the past isn’t going to change it. And you cannot put your ideals on the past. Instead of trying to destroy it all, use all that energy to change the future. And if you are going to try and erase everything slaveowners had anything to do with, you might as well just get rid of this country while you’re at it. Because like it or not, there were plenty of people in this country that did have something to do with it. There are those who might not like what I say, but it is time for some cooler heads (not especially mine) to prevail. Nothing is going to be solved by running around pulling down statues and changing the names of places and buildings. It certainly won’t encourage talk. Stop and think. ‒ Lani Cotton

• Lani Cotton: I understand what you are trying to say; however, do you think keeping them up encourages talk? Wouldn’t taking them down be like saying, “Hey, we understand why you are upset, and to extend the olive branch to start having civil conversation about the issue, we will start taking down these symbols that memorialize and symbolize your plight”? ‒ Robert Selg

• It’s on private property. ‒ Doug Poore

• So, does the entire state of Delaware get a vote? ‒ Hallie Dolbow

• Can we start a petition to get crooked politicians out of office? How about Delaware police accountability? How about getting rid of facial-recognition cameras? How about opening up primaries to the majority of voters instead of two corrupt parties? ‒ Beth Gallagher

• I’d encourage BLM to make the Confederate flag their official flag. Watch how quickly all these flag sympathizers would want to get rid of it. Reverse psychology. ‒ Sean D. Cartwright

• You can’t erase history, that’s not possible. We don’t need these things to remind us of history. ‒ Ashley Mills

• And nearly 1,000 have signed a petition to impeach our governor. Is there going to be an article on that, too? ‒ Laura Pugh

• Keep them up, all of them. But alongside of them, there should be statues of the freedom fighter Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman, who at that time in history was considered intellectually inferior to whites and outsmarted them ‒ including ones in this slave state ‒ to free many enslaved Blacks and was even smarter by never being caught. And also, wherever there’s a George Washington statue, there should be one alongside his, and just as prominent, of Ona Judge, a slave of his whom he was obsessed with that ran away and was never caught by him during his presidency. So, as long as those Confederate loser generals and slaveholders have honorary monuments, there should be ones of the many that outsmarted those “intellectually superior,” so-called God-fearing Christians. ‒ Michael Jones

• Take every single one down. If some come down, then all of them should! ‒ Nichole Lea

• Put it on the ballot in November. ‒ Diane Butters-Eastburn

• This debate across the United States over Confederate statues, flags and symbolism could be quickly remedied if the federal government would simply label the Confederate Army appropriately. The Confederate Army declared war against the United States. They did so under their own flag, not the U.S. flag, and tried to overthrow our government. The actions of Confederates and their allies alone, not even including their stance on slavery or any of their other values, were an act of treason. Treason is the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution. According to Article III, Section 3, of our Constitution, a person is guilty of treason if he or she goes to war against the United States or gives “aid or comfort” to an enemy. He or she does not have to physically pick up a weapon and fight in combat against U.S. troops. Actively helping the enemy by passing along classified information or supplying weapons, for example, can lead to charges of treason. The wording is very specific as it states: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” So, if the people that fought for or supported the Confederate Army during the Civil War and those that supported them in their war efforts were officially declared treasonous and a terrorist group, as they should by the Constitution, then it would go to reason that there should not be public monuments or flags raised to honor those acts of treason. Declaring their acts treasonous and them as traitors would not change the history of the Civil War. It could still be taught in schools, visually explained in museums and historical sites and so on. But what it will change is the false honor that people have today in their lineage to these traitors. Then, people can stop fighting over what they think it does or does not symbolize and address it for what it is. ‒ Nate McClure

• Why would Delaware, “who fought and died for the Union,” ever have a traitorous Confederate statue? ‒ Susan Janis