Posts tagged ‘Covid-19’

Bookmarked “Teachers and Their Unions Are Demanding Truly Safe Schools Reopening — Not “Ignoring Science””

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/teachers-unions-schools-covid-reopening/

Thought this was a good piece. The article talks about what’s happening in the US, but we had a similar debate here in Australia as well. Business groups and the conservative federal government insisted that schools had to stay open to provide daycare for working parents' kids, while teachers' unions, most epidemiologists, and state governments wanted kids to learn from home.

There are so many reasons why remote learning is the safest move in areas where Covid-19 is rife. We know that while children are at a lower risk than the average of serious illness, they still do contract and transmit the virus, and schools could hardly be built to better facilitate contagion if they tried. Cram 25+ people elbow-to-elbow into a room with poor ventilation, either use reverse-cycle air conditioning or tell people they can’t do that, instead requiring school to take place entirely in the freezing cold in the winter, have hundreds of people intermingling constantly, guilt-trip and bully anyone who tries to take sick days so as to ensure maximum infection-spreading… yeah, awesome safe environment you’ve got there.

And while it’s obviously important to talk about children’s needs, what I never see from these “open the schools!!!” fanatics is any discussion of the needs of teachers, or anyone else who works in schools. Children may be less likely to develop severe disease from the virus, but adults working in schools are not. Many of those workers will have pre-existing health conditions that put them at higher risk, or have close loved ones (spouses, parents, etc.) with such conditions. And you can’t re-open schools for children without also putting all of those adult workers in the same environment. As a casual relief teacher with a disability and vulnerable loved ones, I would not have wanted to accept work when the virus wasn’t under control here (so it was fortunate there was JobKeeper to cover my income and schools were mostly closed). If I were in the US… I shudder to think.

Of course, it’s important to continue outreach and make sure vulnerable kids still get their needs met. I think it’s disingenuous for politicians and business leaders to claim that teachers don’t care about this, when teachers are the major group who actually do that. In Victoria at least, vulnerable kids and the kids of essential workers still went to school, which operated with a skeleton crew of workers who were not at high risk themselves. In general, I think it’s school staff – not politicians – who are best-placed to determine what measures hit the right balance between supporting students and avoiding unnecessary risk. That’s why I support these teachers' unions 100%.

Bookmarked “Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities”

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/13/new-do-not-resuscitate-orders-imposed-on-covid-19-patients-with-learning-difficulties

Completely horrifying.

Victoria Back in Lockdown

After 13 new Covid cases in the last week, all associated with a specific hotel and a family quarantined there (the Holiday Inn cluster), it’s been announced that Victoria will be going into lockdown for five days from 11:59pm tonight. Back to just the four allowable reasons to leave the house (essential shopping, care and compassionate reasons, work that cannot be done from home, 2hrs …

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Apparently all signs are pointing to a lockdown being about to be declared because we had 13 new Covid-19 cases in the last week 🙄 Seems there’s no possible way contract tracers can get on top of two cases a day, even though they did exactly that just in December. Guess I’d better buy ingredients for dinner before people panic-buy the supermarket out again.

So Melbourne had like two local Covid-19 transmissions yesterday meaning that obviously South Australia felt obliged to close its border to us again 🙄

And in the frenzy to get across the border yesterday, a truck driver has died.

These border closures have got absolutely ridiculous. I get it when a state has like, hundreds of cases a day (like us during our second wave) but over two cases!! Seriously?! Now it’s just panic killing people.

Reflecting on 2020

It’s the last hour of 2020 now as I’m writing this, and it’d be far from an original comment to say this has been like no year I’ve experienced before. Early in the year, Viv and I kept remarking on how we felt like we were living through an episode of Years and Years. Not too long later, we stopped making that comment because it became too depressingly true! This year …

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Yesterday Melbourne reported its first locally-acquired Covid-19 cases in two months. Today we found out the common link… a restaurant two suburbs away from me, back on December 21st 😐 Considering all the gatherings that’ve taken place since then, I’m suddenly a lot more nervous…

Interring My Grandma's Ashes

Yesterday, my family gathered at Box Hill Cemetery to inter my grandma's ashes. The funeral itself was held back in September, but with the Covid-19 restrictions no more than ten mourners had been allowed to attend, and we wanted to delay the interment so more people would have the opportunity to pay their respects, if they wanted. I still haven't fully adjusted to the reality that she's no longer with us, which I'm sure is a common sensation.

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Twenty-four days now since Victoria’s last new Covid-19 case, and as of today we’re finally allowed outside without a mask, so long as we maintain social distancing! Was so good to feel the fresh air on my face as we exercised today.

A man and woman, standing in front of some shrubbery, smile at the camera

Today Victoria marked 15 straight days of no new Covid-19 cases. It’s taken a long, hard lockdown to get here, and I can’t deny that stretches of this year have been really tough (not being allowed to see family, but especially when my grandma and my mum were gravely ill, and suddenly we were no longer allowed to visit either of them). The federal government and the state opposition – i.e. the Liberal Party – were relentlessly critical of our lockdown, insisting that it would never work and we had to get back to business as usual ASAP, so big business could go back to making mega profits and they could go back to demonising the unemployed for their own predicament instead of having to acknowledge (albeit temporarily) that there are structural reasons for unemployment. But what do you know? Despite the undeniable hardship (and the heavy-handed policing of the lockdown in lower SES communities, which the state government should not be let off the hook for at all)… we’re now in an enviable position, certainly compared to many other countries. I can actually go out tonight and celebrate Diwali with my partner’s very immediate family, while I know in the US for example, people who are responsible are facing the prospect of Thanksgiving with no one beyond their own household. It’s a sad, lonely time for many people in the world.

Hopefully soon there’ll be a vaccine that’ll get us much closer to normality. But in the meantime, I think it’s pretty clear that lockdowns work, and the “economic damage” is a small price to pay considering the actual human cost you could be facing instead (or realistically, as well). It’s a disgrace that so many governments around the world (including Australia’s own federal government, which has had to be dragged by the state governments literally every step of the way) value money so much over human life.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.