Editorial

Will history repeat itself for Wayland School Board?

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

“Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” — Georges Santayana

The last time the Wayland Board of Education voted not to comply with a Covid-related recommendation (not an order), it didn’t end well. The board decided last April to return to the classroom five days a week after spring break, though health officials and the superintendent warned that viral spikes were becoming a problem.

Wayland High School was put back on the hybrid model of instruction a week after its vote and soon afterward added the middle school.

Somehow, Hopkins and Martin were able to continue with classroom instruction for four and five days a week, respectively.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the State Department of Health and Human Services last April 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

Supt. Dr. Christina Hinds told the board, “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.”

So board members reluctantly voted 6-0 for the high school to go back to the hybrid instructional model just a week after voting April 10 to stick with in-person learning.

Student Representative Andrew VanBaal provided perhaps some telling information about what went wrong after the high school went to all in-person.

“Moving back and forth between on line and in-person created inconsistency,” he said. He added that too many students did not observe mitigation protocol, particularly in wearing masks over their noses.

Board members five months ago complained about the Allegan County Health Department’s lack of timeliness in announcing the Covid situations. They did so again Monday night, when they voted 6-1 not to comply with the department’s recommendation to have everybody mask up to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Will history repeat itself? Time will tell.

Perhaps Albert Einstein’s quote is more appropriate: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

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