Although coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to result in more hospitalizations and deaths around the country, that is not stopping local places from attempting to re-open.
Orange Beach, AL
According to one Odyssey creator who visited Orange Beach, "The situation on the ground was absolutely bonkers, and no one seemed to even be aware of the ongoing pandemic."
And though the situations at the Alabama beaches seem to be extreme, that same lax attitude is being highlighted in different parts of the country.
St. Charles, IL
One Odyssey creator wrote about how a St. Charles High School had a plan of opening up the school at half capacity after a different highly contagious virus, a 2017 norovirus, caused 800 students to call out sick.
The creator wrote, "The district plans to reopen St. Charles high schools at half capacity, with students being divided into two groups based on last name, but this scenario will still require hundreds of students to be in school each day."
Though coronavirus has continued to take lives across the country, St. Charles East High School had no plans of pursuing remote education as a way of helping maintain a healthy community and keep students out of harm's way.
"...It is both disappointing and concerning that thousands of Americans, including my own family, are about to be thrown into an extremely high-risk situation because our schools were unable and unwilling to create a holistic remote learning plan for the autumn 2020 semester."
But St. Charles East High School is not the only place opting out of pursuing remote opportunities for students amid the pandemic.
University of Kentucky
The university has been touting a plan of "Reinventing Normal" in bringing students back.
According to one Odyssey creator, after countless updates around returning in the fall, the university finally laid out its plan.
"As of a few weeks ago, the school announced that...our semester would start a week earlier than planned and would end at Thanksgiving break, with no other breaks during the semester to minimize student travel."
It's an incredibly risky move for universities and really any public place to open, even with a plan in place that, on paper, seems to be something that will work out.
The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and Education Director, Richard Corcoran, also agreed to reopen schools as per the direction of Betsy Devos. An Odyssey creator who is also a substitute teacher in Florida schools wrote,
"As a substitute teacher, I have been in contact with many teachers and staff about what their options are to go back to work.
"Many of the teachers who are older or with immune problems have retired or left due to their health. Others are worried that in already overflowing classrooms, even with masks, the students still face a great risk of contaminating each other."
Reopening schools is putting teachers with preexisting conditions at risk of not only losing their lives but of having to quit their jobs because of the near-sighted decisions of those who hold power.
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What all of these situations have in common is showing how it isn't usually those in power who have to deal with the consequences of their actions.
It's incredibly easy to reopen schools if you're a dean, governor, or someone who has a monetary stake in things being open because it only affects you in a peripheral way.
For those people who now have to return to school as students, teachers, and who have to return to the restaurants and beaches to ensure service and safety, the risk is real. It is directly in front of them. As a result of a hasty reopening of things in our country, for lots of people the risk of catching the virus and potentially dying increases exponentially.
And for that reason, it's so incredibly important to hear the stories of the people who will be directly impacted by the decisions of those who will not be. Because it is by not listening to them in the first place where risky decisions are made and a foundation for a potential second wave is built.