Letters to the Editor: April 15 – 21, 2021
It Was Wrong For News-Press To Pit Teachers Against Parents
I am dismayed by the recent FCNP article, “Uncertainty During Reopening Process Caused Some to Leave F.C. School System” and its omission of crucial details. Matt Delaney writes that although Superintendent Noonan eyed “a return to hybrid instruction” in mid-January, after the “first wave of vaccinations,” teachers urged him to push back the target date for students’ return to in-person schooling. What the article neglects to mention is that teachers had not received their second injections, thereby diminishing the vaccines’ efficacy. It is my understanding that opening schools several weeks later afforded teachers and staff the full benefits conferred by the vaccine’s second dose.
Teachers were not the only ones to contact Superintendent Noonan and the School Board about this matter. I, along with many Falls Church City parents, wrote letters in support of the teachers’ request to delay opening until they were fully vaccinated. To suggest that there was some kind of battle in which teachers’ interests were pitted against students’ interests is, frankly, ridiculous. A thoughtful reopening process, and one that allowed for everyone’s safety, was in all of our interests.
I am likewise floored by the tenor of conversation in our community surrounding the schools’ reopening. During this pandemic, I have read comments on social media platforms that teachers are lazy, that they have shirked their responsibilities, that they should be forced to work as daycare providers, that they should forego step increases and raises. This year has not left a single one of us unscathed – not children, not parents, not teachers and staff. Blaming teachers for a global pandemic that nobody could have predicted, and a system that does not provide sufficient safety nets, is ludicrous. Worse, it is selfish and entitled. A large number of our teachers have children of their own. Many care for aging parents or have vulnerable family members. Forced to learn new technologies and devise new pedagogical techniques – on the fly – they have pushed themselves into contortions in order to help our children. They have not worked less, they have worked more. And I have not heard of a single teacher who objected to returning to the classroom, once vaccinated.
It makes sense that we are angry over this lost year. We are angry for our children, and for ourselves. But scapegoating teachers is ridiculously short-sighted. It also does not reflect the philosophy of many parents in our Falls Church community.
Courtney Brkic Newbold
Letters to the Editor may be submitted to [email protected] or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here