As I record this perspective, it is now day four of our school district’s shut down because of COVID-19, and I’m about stark raving loony for two reasons.
First, e-learning is going to be no substitute for the intellectual fervor of a good class discussion. And second, junior high kids are hilarious, so I’m missing the dozens of good laughs I often get in a day. None of us will be getting the “brain food” to which we are accustomed.
Then there’s the problem with kids getting actual food.
Catastrophes always have a way of exposing fundamental problems with economic structures. Here’s a statistic that embodies one of those problems: According to CountyHealthRanking.org, averaging all counties in the WNIJ listening area, 47% of public school students receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch. What that means is that the income levels of those kids’ households hover at a level where food insecurity is an ongoing problem. Or we could look at it another way: There are large pockets in this First World country with large pockets of Third World country problems. Perhaps with this disaster, we will figure out a way to take out the “poor” in “working poor,” and shift it to “working, and doing ok.”
On a positive note, make it a point to thank those in your local school district who, in a matter of a few days, worked out the monstrous logistics to get food to those kids who need it. They represent the very best of what it means to be a public servant.
I’m Andrew Nelson and that’s my perspective.