ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
“It is isn’t very good, but it sure is interesting.” — Detroit Piston Scouts Will Robinson on MIAA basketball
Last weekend’s scramble to reopen schools or shut them down after spring break has prompted some interesting, but perhaps troubling developments and realizations.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the State Department of Health and Human Services Friday morning issued a request, not an order, for high schools to shutter and go to virtual learning for two weeks and athletics to be paused for the same period.
All three local districts declined the request. Martin and Hopkins both did so much in the same fashion as announcing a snow day. Wayland made the decision to “stay the course” after a special school board meeting Saturday.
This reminded me of two things:
- There has been some grumbling on social media that suggested Superintendent Dr. Christina Hinds is governing the Wayland Union school district like Whitmer is as Michigan’s CEO. Interesting that Wayland decided to remain open because of a board decision.
- This development echoes the old understanding that voluntary seat belt compliance never was higher than about 65 percent of motorists, despite a massive public relations campaign over more than a dozen years. It wasn’t until the State Legislature in the mid-1980s mandated seat belt use under penalty of law that compliance was estimated at better than 95%.
The governor, who took a lot of heat for employing strict shutdown orders over the past year to mitigate Covid-19 spread, this time softened her approach and was rebuffed, at least in these parts. Local school districts declined her request while Michigan climbed into the No. 1 spot in the nation for new Covid cases. It was so bad that the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publicly implored Michigan to shut things down. It was so bad that the Allegan County Health Department recommended local schools go back to the hybrid model.
So deciding to send the kids back to the classroom and to “let them play” sports had its risks.
At the end of the first day back (Monday), it was reported in Hinds’ letter to parents:
“Six students from Wayland High School are presumed positive, two WHS students are confirmed positive, two middle school students are confirmed positive one Pine Street student is presumed positive and one Dorr Elementary student is confirmed positive.”
All 12 students are being quarantined and are staying home.
Allegan County Health Department is investigating and monitoring the situation.
It’s an old and tired saying, but “Hindsight is 20-20.”