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Wash those hands

I'm the proud parent of a highly intelligent and lively soon to be first grader. Kindergarten was rough for us. The reason being that the social butterfly gene has fully emerged in my daughter making playtime and fun more important than numbers and letters. Flash forward to the spring and she did amazingly well, I think, with her focus getting better and everything improving. Then COVID arrived in the state. Literally overnight, myself and the hundreds of thousands of parents and students in the state had to doggy paddle through distance learning. It was rough waters to be sure.

School was released on the Ides of March. The state then tossed the idea around of if they would re-open before the end of the school year. We all know that didn't happen, and a lot of faux events of graduation and prom took place. It was an incredibly strange time for the students of 2020. Now those students are eagerly awaiting the return to something normal. However, COVID still reigns. This makes everything education-related complicated. Parents, teachers, administrators, school boards, and teachers' unions have all voiced their thoughts. Oddly enough, the very level of government that should be speaking loudest and firmest about the 2020-2021 school year is noticeably silent. They had the time, more time than the spring decision, to close the schools, to figure out a way to reopen them.

Four pages does not a reopening guidance for schools during a health crisis make. Where were these elected officials over the three months? Elected officials at every level from the top to the legislators have continued to meet and have held meetings over the last few months. Yet the biggest issue facing the state currently is ignored.

Will our students, teachers, and staff be safe in these buildings that need updates? This is so much bigger than just is it safe. This is also about cost. Schools depend on local mill levies to operate. Every single school in this state runs on the value of your land and the taxes you pay on it. Public schools are limited to what they can ask for from the taxpayers. Their hands are essentially tied, and their budgets now held hostage by COVID.

The cost of education is high. It is going to get a lot higher as COVID shows no signs of ending , leading to the 2020-2021 school year costing us more than just money. Elected leaders at the state level sure know how to wash those hands of theirs.

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