People who work in or attend schools are faced with the horrifying situation of the inexorable school year beginning in the next few weeks. We've put together a few points we hope can help. For the record, we fully believe schools should not be opened. No to reopening. The school year is an arbitrary deadline!
So... What can teachers do if they're going back? Beyond the hand washing and basic distancing, what else is there? We saw a viral post of someone asking their doctor and so then we asked one of our doctors and got THE SAME ANSWERS:
SIX STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
1: 5 N-95 masks clearly marked for each day and left to sit for a week after use. Buy spares.
2: Plastic shield face guard for your eyes. Mandatory. Don't think you look dumb. You're not overreacting. Wear it. Do Vader breaths. Embrace it.
3: Hair covered for short hair styles - or up and covered for long hair. Your hair traps particles and if you touch it, you're at risk. Hats in class everybody.
4: When you get home, clothes go straight into the washer - so wear durable clothes that can be washed. No dry clean only! Don't even think about wearing a tie.
5: Do NOT bring work stuff into the house. Leave everything at school. No homework checking? Laptops? HOW?!
6: Buy life insurance. Don't consider it. Do it. I am so so SO sorry.
"DEMAND PPE Supplies! Oh wait, we're talking about teachers. Right. WTF."
... And that's the *nice* way of putting it. Ultimately, your defense is only as strong as your weakest point, so if you only do half of this, you might as well do none. Our medical professional actually swore a lot and got quite upset so we let him vent. Another doctor joined the conversation and she physically struggled to keep from screaming in similar frustration. Totally agreed. Big mood. Breathe - over there.
But what about kids?
SAME RULES.lol wut
Oh the kids will be fiiiiiiine.
People have been saying that kids don't get it. THEY TOTALLY DO. Children just haven't been as exposed. They're not the essential workers or the people going on grocery errands. They're not out at bars like idiots. They don't have anti-maskers intentionally coughing on them. They're not trapped in nursing homes.
They're about to be trapped in schools.
We checked around for a credible source for what to expect for infected children. Let me add that the data is hard to find because credibility is incredibly rare when the information is actively being withheld from the public.
We found a science journal article completely devoid of political influence. This covers a study of 48 infected children from newborn to young adults, some perfectly healthy and some with underlying conditions.
Article TL;DR: Kids are at a more severe risk than previously thought, especially those with underlying conditions.
Of children submitted to intensive care, 80% had underlying conditions:
2/5 developed severe conditions needing technological support,
1/5 had organ failure,
40% of that needed a breathing tube and ventilator,
Months later 33% still hospitalized, 6% on vents, 2% on life support.
Visualizing the numbers: A Grim Example
Now my graduating class was 736 students in just one grade. Yeah, big school, and that's the number not counting drop outs or fails. We're just looking at one grade's student body. Even then, 2 people died of natural causes / accidents and got full page memorials in the year book. If COVID-19 hit my high school and our plan was trash and everyone got infected and sent to the ICU before the school was closed again...
+30 kids from my grade alone would be dead. 4%. That's an entire class room - dies without family members present in the ICU.
294 of my classmates would need breathing machines and health devices as they went into college - if they could afford to go now burdened with medical debt and needing healthcare asistance. That's like six football teams worth of people. That's equal to a quarter of then entire NFL player roster - Needs medical devices for everyday life, all from one school's grade 12. A 9-12 high school would essentially be the whole NFL in this scenario.
147 kids in just my class would have at least ONE if not two cases of organ failure. Imagine 5 full classrooms with every child raising their hand to be missing an organ.
... And we'd need 60 ventilators. Even in medically-advanced Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported in April there to be only 1700 in the ENTIRE STATE. My high school was 4 grades, so that's 240 ventilators for just one city's one high school.
Go through your year book and apply these numbers. We all know people who have health problems so you might as well just put an X on them now. We may know people who later discovered they had un-diagnosed health issues, like a soccer player with a heart murmur or the band kid who always kinda assumed they had asthma. They get severe complications. The rest, who knows? Healthy people are developing new problems every day like cardiac complications because their blood is too thick for their hearts to handle. Others are randomly getting diabetes and losing toes. They don't die so no one cares to count that.
My year book has an extensive teacher section too and we didn't add those numbers in. Faculty doesn't get to graduate and leave. I'm afraid to even think about what the class of 2021's year book memorial section will look like.
Imagine being voted most likely to succeed in November and dead by Spring break.
I know I spelled out a worst case scenario with my high school. Those numbers look insane, right? The truth is, for a lot of areas, it's going to vary. Some schools will do it ok-ish. Some will have super spreaders. 56.6 million students will attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States. Of the 50.8 million public school students: 1.4 million will attend prekindergarten. I just Googled that. Google your state COVID infection rate and current trend. Chances are, you'll have a lot more than 736 kids going to the ICU. Is it easier to picture now why schools should NOT open?
So while the governments and leaders and the ill-informed or selfishly motivated continue to push for the reopening of schools, please do your best to stay safe and protest or escape as best you can. Don't show up. Pull your kids out. Find a way to make it work.
The next major conversation for students will be how they'll deal with their newly gained disease burdens and debt. Then all these uneducated leaders are just gunna send thoughts and prayers while insurance companies celebrate more record breaking profit quarters. Hey, the NBA might be starting up again though. I wonder where the scouts are finding the next batch of rookies.
There are going to be some awful stories over the next year as this unfolds. Hospitals don't report to the CDC anymore so who knows what kind of data we'll have to examine - if any at all!
It may be too morbid to make a pass/fail joke here for our society. Our dark humor did produce the plague doctor teacher shirt. And mug. It's whatever. Shameless plug. Look, we're broke too so we totally get it and that's not why you're here. I mean the margin on HQ shirts is like this.
From the bottom of our hearts at Gemmed Firefly, we can't imagine the difficult position educators and school system workers are put in. Your anxiety has to be absolutely crushing. Our heroes are teachers. We can only hope wisdom and proper planning are utilized. Otherwise, just remove yourself from it. Figure it out.
We will continue to provide any further information and tools we can gather. We want the best health and vibes for everyone on this runaway train to a preventable historic tragedy and yet another glorious national embarrassment. We love you all.
If you're depressed enough to have enjoyed the tone of this article, maybe our Surrounded by Idiots collection suits you. I mean...
(We've decided to post here again instead of on the other blog site, so content here will be growing again! Format sucks but whatever.)
March 03, 2020 2 min read
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