Uh, Guys, We Need To Figure This School Stuff Out

Unless some kind of Mary Poppins army descends upon America's essential workers to provide their children with supervision, education, and whatever drugs let them dive inside those chalk drawings, schools are gonna have to open in the fall. It's not even a question. Everyone's grades dropped so dramatically under distance learning that even the American Academy of Pediatrics -- you know, the people in charge of keeping children healthy -- advised cramming the small fries back into their cozy educational sleeves. There's still that whole "deadly pandemic" thing happening, though, and no one knows what children get up to at school that makes them such effective germ vectors, but it's the reason we closed schools in the first place. Maybe if we'd all spent a few weeks cooking at home, it would be fine, but we fought for our freedom to chug DaiquiRitas unencumbered by the most basic protection offered by face masks, so here we are.

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Fortunately, we have people who we pay specifically to think about problems like this. The CDC has issued a set of guidelines that would keep children safely in school, such as spacing out desks, frequent testing, no licking each other's faces, etc. The problem is that those things all cost money, and the entire American education system is already subsisting on the handful of pennies and half a Snickers they found in their pocket. It doesn't help that Trump keeps threatening to cut off their funding if they don't pretend we handled the crisis just as well as Europe and return to full face-licking. He can't do that, but he'll say anything to bully people into making it look like he didn't screw this up, which he did.

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Basically, everyone is scrambling for alternatives, and those that have been proposed only prove that we're in real danger of falling headfirst into the barrel we're scraping. Some schools are planning to solve the desk space problem by rotating kids in two days a week and doing distance learning the rest of the time. This will expose them to the health risks of in-person school and the educational risks of distance learning. You'll recognize that as the opposite of a solution. One economist proposed putting all those out-of-school college kids to work as dedicated tutors, but even she admitted she had no idea how much that would cost, and she's clearly never tried to organize a bunch of 19-year-olds for so much as a keg run. You need a minimum full-semester lead-up, or your party is going to be beerless, and we have less than two months to plan an entire educational overhaul. Good luck with that.

Manna has never been more thankful to be able to spend all day on Twitter.

Top image: CDC, Unsplash/H Shaw

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