Now that Iowa GOP Gov. Kimberly Reynolds has said that the state’s schools must hold at least 50% of their core instruction in person unless they have a positive coronavirus test rate of at least 15% in their county and at least 10% absenteeism among students, Iowa teachers are reacting by sending her mock obituaries.
The obituaries were triggered by art teacher Jeremy Dumkreiger, who penned an obituary for himself on the local news blog Iowa Starting Line, The Hill reported. He urged other teachers to write their obituaries to “demand Gov. Reynolds declare a statewide school mask mandate,” adding, “If we do not require this mask mandate, we risk the chance of driving our teachers and schools into the ground, literally.”
“I think what we were trying to do is humanize us in her mind, make her see us as people,” Kerry Finley, who teaches 7th grade in Iowa City, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
On Thursday, Reynolds stated, “We need to keep our next generation learning, growing and preparing for a bright future, and online learning is an essential component of that. But it can’t make up for the critical role our schools play in the development of social and emotional skills that our children rely on.”
“My school has nearly 800 students and as a fine arts teacher, I will see over 300 students over a two-day period,” Emily Tinsman, a music teacher in Des Moines Public Schools, told The Hill. “If I contract the virus, I’ve exposed over 300 students. It’s hard to understand her guidance as she’s not a health professional or an educator surrounded by hundreds of students every day.”
This week, National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen-Garcia ripped President Trump for his comments on schools reopening, stating:
When Donald Trump threw out, you know, “Well, look at Denmark and Australia and Germany and Norway. They all opened their schools.” Yeah, they opened their schools based on these guidelines, and the very first thing they did is they took the pandemic seriously. They actually said, “We have to get this infection rate under control,” and they had a national plan. It wasn’t a city here or a state there. It was a national plan. We still don’t have a national plan and look at where it’s led to. So, if those countries did it and did it successfully, it’s because they did the exact opposite of what this administration has done.
She continued by harshly accusing Trump of wanting to reopen schools so the economy would recover:
Are parents willing to sacrifice their children so that Donald Trump can get his jobs numbers up? Because he’s made it very clear opening those schools, on a hybrid, every-other-day, doesn’t work for him because what he wants is all the kids out of the house. Why? So Mom and Dad can go back to work, so that he can look better in an economic report.