Please Test All Our School Kids for Covid-19 & Keep Testing
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I am a parent.
My child was born in my town.
He rides his bike, practices soccer, learns the piano, and goes to Scout meetings in my town.
He plays with his friends, goes to the movies, and mows lawns for our neighbors in my town.
And every year in my town, my son becomes part of one of the most important and enduring rituals in our community— and of our lives—going back to school.
But as fall approaches, we now must decide as parents, how to safeguard our most precious treasure—our children—while sending them into harm’s way in the midst of this ferocious pandemic.
We yearn for so much normal that we can’t fathom the start of school being anything other than normal.
But none of us want to say the obvious. That it’s impossible not to send them into this viral storm.
Where does that leave us? A basket of impossible choices to choose from.
We say that the virus doesn’t attack kids. But kids have died. Are you willing for yours to be that child?
If our kids attend school, they can bring home the virus to us parents, to our grandparents, and to the rest of our community. Is this our only choice? To play Russian Roulette with the safety of our kids, our family, our towns—and our country?
And the snowball keeps on rolling—because parents need to work and can’t stay home all day for online learning. But online learning is the only way to keep everyone safe. And our kids need their teachers, their friends. Even The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that “[we] should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
Did you watch how much your child did not learn online? Did you ask? I’ve asked. My son and his friends and their friends. And they all say without a moment’s hesitation, “It sucks.”
If our fundamental jobs as parents is to protect our child from harm, then we are about to fail in a monumental way. Why do we as parents have to succumb to only one outcome?
I feel an impossibility to this moment were it not for one saving grace: I will do whatever it takes to keep my child, my family, my town, and my country safe from harm.
We are the front line in our children’s lives. Why can’t we ask for the impossible? If our ultimate job is to protect, we will do nothing less than the impossible for our children.
If we have to send our kids back to school, why are we are not asking for the safest possible way to do so. Why can’t we test every last child in America and then keep on testing them over and over again?
If we must send our kids back to school, and we cannot tolerate another day, week, or month of online learning, then we have no choice but to ask for the impossible.
We must test.
Why do we need to test our kids for the virus? Because it’s the only real way we can discover if the virus is trying to infiltrate our schools. It’s the only real way we can protects students from giving it to other students, who give it to their teachers or bus drivers, who give it to their parents or their grandparents, who then give it to other people in the community, who then give it to . . . you get the picture.
We are all vulnerable. Because if we can’t protect our kids, then we can’t protect our families—and we can’t protect our communities and all the families in those communities. We can’t.
And we can’t because our social contract—those values and ideas we all fiercely agree upon, that which gives us a sense of powerful belonging for which we will move moral mountains and for which we will sacrifice the blood and treasure of our country for its ideals—is fraying like we’ve never seen before. We are literally becoming a million and more countries unto ourselves. How can a million and more countries decide when it is safe for us to begin school again? We can’t.
But a million or more parents, who are the last and truest social contract left in our country—can.
Because the most powerful force in the world is the love of a parent for their child. And protecting our children from harm is literally the most important thing we do as parents. Because we as parents will do anything—ANYTHING—to ensure the safety of our child.
We wield “parent power” every day in our children’s lives—and we know how to use it. We are the parents of 76 million students, and we need to use our amazing powers of influence to demand every last one of our kids gets tested. That’s a lot of parent power.
Our children are not businesses to open or close at will. They are not bowling alleys or bars, or hair salons or movie theaters that can be opened or closed depending on the whim of the virus. Our kids are our lives. They need us to stand up for them—for their health and safety—for their lives. They need school. They need teachers. They need to learn.
How do you demand tests? You demand it from everyone in power. Because this demand is coming from the most powerful force in the world—a parent’s love for their child.
You demand it from the superintendents and principals, who will demand it from the state. You demand it from the mayors and local town councils. You demand it from your local state representatives, who will demand it from your governor. You demand it from your senators and legislators who will demand it from the president. You demand it because it is your right to protect your child. You say we can’t do it, but we can. Because we are a “can-do” people in a “can-do” country. We do not have to accept anything less as parents.
Create online petitions. Spread the word. Wield that parent power and move the world for your kids. The collective parental power of over 76 million students is a tsunami of demand—and only the best kind.
Yes, I am asking the impossible in an impossible time. Yet I have no choice. I am a parent who loves my child without end. As we all do. Now I ask for all of you parents to ask for the impossible. Because that is what we as parents are supposed to do.
And for my first impossible ask and task—I want to now use my “parental powers” and get the ball rolling. I’m going to use the second most powerful force in the world—our kids love of social media—and let them loose on the planet with an acronym I know they would get—and use (especially when it means that their parents will have no clue what this newest app really does).
With the clock clicking down to the opening of our schools, please pass this on to your kids—they’ll get it . . .
TIK-TOK NOW! Spread the word. Demand the test. And safeguard not only our children, but our families, towns,—and country. The clock is ticking … And all is not impossible.
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