To the parents who told the Raleigh County Board of Education that they want an option to send their children to school five days a week, we hear you. There is no place better for a child to receive an education than in a classroom with a professional educator providing the lessons – face-to-face.
But we also see the number of Covid-19 cases spiking yet again around the country and in West Virginia to record levels – accompanied by more hospitalizations, more intensive care patients, more intubations and more deaths.
Now is not the time to loosen our standards. Quite the contrary.
Given the movement of the numbers, we will not be surprised to hear in the coming weeks news of additional countywide school closings. Wyoming County schools will be buttoned up this coming week as its Covid transmission rate – as of Saturday – was not in a healthy place. It was joined by a handful of others West Virginia counties – seven, to be exact – that will adopt distance learning protocols for at least the week ahead.
But it doesn’t take a analytical whiz to see that other counties are headed in the same direction, and that it is not beyond the pale to think we could have a dozen school districts closed next week at this time.
Mercer County, by way of example, has counted 94 more cases in the past week alone – 20 percent of its cumulative total since tracking started back in March. Without surprise, its transmission rate has tripled from a seven-day rolling average of 7.54 cases per 100,000 population to 22.61.
The numbers out of Monroe and Nicholas counties are headed in the same direction.
None of it is good. None of it is safe.
The parents are advocating for the best education possible for all school children – a noble and worthy cause. We are on board with that.
But that was never the plan by the Trump administration. It only wanted to open up all businesses as fast as possible so that the economy – and a 2020 campaign talking point – could be salvaged from the ruins.
What we had best wrap our collective heads around is this: We are in for rough sledding between now through – at least – Christmas because we do not have a national plan to combat this plague.
We will not be surprised to see the U.S. and Mountain State break all previous Covid records.
And in that environment, we chose safety over sending our kids to class – any day of the week.