It's ugly out there

Greetings Advocates,

Happy Spring! The days are longer, and I'm enjoying the extra hours of daylight. And, since school districts, colleges, and universities across the U.S. have different weeks off for spring break - I think all the spring breaks are coming to a close. For those who have had a spring break, I hope you were able to enjoy some relaxation.

As we all know, starting in May, we're beginning the countdown to summer. We still need to get through most of May - with seniors' graduations and promotions ceremonies in other grades.

I have several thoughts, and I'll return to them in the next few weeks. 

Earlier this week, a federal judge struck down the nationwide mask mandate on planes, buses, and public transportation. In her ruling, the judge indicated that she felt the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control exceeded their mandate. I think I'll keep rocking my mask though on planes :)

We look at what serves the collective good as a matter of equity. Knowing that children under the age of 5 still can't be vaccinated and that seniors and those immunocompromised are at risk, what steps are we taking to protect the vulnerable members of our community?

As with many public health issues, there are several elements to consider, including community spread and mitigation measures. Mask usage is only one such measure. Vaccines and boosters are another. 

I agree that we can't just close up our businesses and lockdown, as they have in Shanghai, China, where people have been staying home for as much as three weeks while the government takes steps to deal with the virus.

That's not sustainable. While the new variants are easily transmissible, they are less likely to put people in the hospital, but we still don't know enough about COVID. Some people feel the effects of COVID on their heart and their lungs, they experience brain fog and excessive fatigue, and some have kidney trouble. There is much we don't yet know.

But as a community, collectively, we need to consider the vulnerable members in our groups and make sure that they have adequate ventilation, access to vaccines, and that they can wear a mask without being subjected to jeers and catcalls.

Because it is getting that ugly out there. 

Even if the other person isn't wearing a mask, I'll wear one if it protects my elderly parents, my family member who is immunocompromised, or my child under the age of 10. 

I am happy to take advice from physicians, scientists, and public health experts, but I wonder why a Federal judge can strike down a mandate that has the goal of protecting the community. Our community.

This week, my guest on my Livestream was Felisa Ford. She's an educator with over 29 years of experience. She is currently a Digital Learning Specialist. Our topic was the homework gap, and I asked her what that meant. Felisa said it's what happens when there's an inequitable distribution of resources and our students don't have access to the internet and laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks. Early in the pandemic, schools announced that they were sending home Chromebooks and giving students hotspots to access the internet, but Felisa tells me there wasn't enough. Lack of access is enough of a concern that the Federal government has created an Emergency Connectivity Fund and will provide grants to ensure that students have access to the internet and laptops, so they are not left behind. The deadline to apply is June 2023.

Using Minecraft, Felisa also developed superb educational materials, such as the Good Trouble site. Shortly after George Floyd's murder and the Black Lives Matter Movement, she realized that it was important for students to be able to access lessons on racial justice. The studies on civil rights in education are the most downloaded in Minecraft history.

If you'd like to watch the entire conversation, here's the link.


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