Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Irony in ACSD priorities

Is it just me or is ACSD teaching the literary lesson of “irony” in a rather unfortunate way? A recent front page of the Addison Independent featured both the articles “ACSD will evaluate a system of 4 schools” and “Mary Hogan Confirms COVID Case” which, given the state mandate for social distancing, meets the definition of irony spot on. While I find the paper editor’s mixed messaging here satirically amusing, the fact that these articles point out the incongruous nature of operating and consolidating schools during a pandemic only highlights the questionable priorities of the district consolidation process.
The current small school structure of ACSD inherently benefits our communities by maintaining space and enabling social distancing, which places the district leadership’s preference for consolidation as diametrically opposed to responsible health recommendations as COVID-19 appears to be increasingly endemic in nature. By busing our children to fewer schools, keeping them in larger groups and simply hoping for the best with community spread, our towns won’t be able to keep the curve flat and we won’t be able to protect each other in the way Vermonters so clearly value. 
I understand the counter argument here is that COVID will not be as big of an issue when the consolidation takes place, but I find that pie-in-the-sky optimism dangerous as we watch our fellow Americans flout regulations, travel without quarantining, and refuse to don masks at only nine months into this viral progression. We don’t know when vaccines will be widely available and we don’t know if we will achieve herd-immunity at that point — and yes, I recognize we must maintain hope in spite of that all, but ACSD is wrong in their de facto lesson that “hope” and “closing schools” are synonymous.
COVID is no laughing matter and I feel this satirical example of ACSD management is a case in point of how the district lost my trust as a parent. I believe a solid education is necessary for the future of our children, but real life irony with real world consequences is not a lesson they need to learn in elementary school.
Jaime Cammack
Ripton
 

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