“We’ve tried nothing and we are all out of ideas.” –The Simpsons
This time last year we thought we would continue along normally as we always did. We knew about COVID, but we were assured it would be nothing. I suppose there was plenty to be hopeful about. All of the other pandemics since the 1918 Flu Pandemic had been minor in nature, so this new one was bound to be minor too right?
Except it wasn’t. We lost a week after Spring Break in the hopes that everything would blow over. One week turned into two. Two turned into the rest the Spring. We stood around and did nothing because we were told it would go away with the heat. We didn’t do extensive planning because we assumed it would go away eventually.
Imagine our surprise when the former president told us how lucky we were to have him as president. I suppose enormous egos go along with the job. However, you would think he would have an ounce of self-awareness at some point. When asked to join the other ex-presidents to orge people to take the vaccine he declined. Maybe he didn’t decline. Maybe they didn’t even bother to ask.
He told us that without him we wouldn’t have the vaccine. It was as if he was in the lab mixing chemicals and creating the vaccine himself. Pfizer didn’t take any of the administration’s money and came up with their formula independently. Modern’a formula surely has helped, but he would have had more Pfizer if he had bothered to order more when he had the chance.
Then, there are the half a million deaths in the meantime. This is where the lack of planning has an effect that is right in your face. In the education world it is a bit more subtle. Lives are not necessarily lost at the same rate with children. They are more resilent physically when it comes to illness and they are seemingly more resilent in every other way.
The problem is that the effects are more hidden. Pundits have long maintained that students are better off attending school in person. No kidding. Except there was little done to prepare us for the new reality. My personal school was more prepared than others because we already utilized technology in teaching. Other schools were not as lucky. Even with that luck we have had numerous students fall through the cracks.
Did we spend any time preparing the schools themselves to accommodate social distancing? Did we spend any time or money improving facilities to improve ventilation systems? Did we spend any time working on curriculum to address the changes in mode of learning. Of course not. We just hoped that everything would return to normal.
Members of the GOP were still complaining about doing that even after this recent stimulus was passed. The education funding is unrelated to COVID they say. Except it isn’t. Buildings need to retrofitted. That isn’t cheap. Funding is based on attendance. Attendance has been a challenge this year. When you can’t bring in revenue you can’t pay teachers. Not only does the level of education suffer, but you have more unemployed teachers.
Education is just one aspect of life. Obviously, small businesses have been crushed. Individual families have been crushed. Unemployed workers have been crushed. Renters have been crushed. Landlords have been crushed. All of this was due to the fact that the president didn’t act when the virus first arrived. Even just a month of action prior to what he did do (which wasn’t much) would have made a world of difference.
What’s funny is that we downplay ebola and H1N1 because neither had a dramatic impact on the United States. They certainly didn’t have the impact that COVID has had. That’s not an accident. A lot of work and preparation went into making sure they didn’t have that effect. Ebola was even milder than H1N1 because the administration learned some things. That’s the way administration normally works on any level.
So, yeah, it’s hard to think of the vaccine without thinking of Trump. He is the reason why we needed a vaccine in the first place. No one got vaccinated following Ebola or H1N1. Sure, we have flu shots, but we didn’t sweat companies creating a life-saving vaccine on the fly. We didn’t need it. We did the steps necessary beforehand to make sure of that. That’s what good administrators do. Bad ones just say, “we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.”