Wednesday, May 5, 2021

An Eighth Open Letter to the School District

Dear folks in charge of the decision making down at the School District,

I realize that on Cinco de Mayo, you would normally expect this column to be about my love of tacos and beer with limes, and the amazingly awesome tradition of the U.S. celebrating another country’s holiday with far more enthusiasm than they do, but alas, you have taken that away from me.

I was forced to write to you again today because yesterday, you sent Son Number Two home from school for two weeks. Yes, 417 calendar days after we began our 14-day curve flattening, school is still at my house.

To say that I don’t understand the reason for you “quarantining” my son is more than just a vast understatement, because to understand something, it first has to make at least some shred of sense. Let me walk you through what happened here and see if you can follow me:

Apparently, a kid in Son Number Two’s Spanish class tested positive for COVID. I have to assume it was COVID-21, because we can’t still be using the old COVID-19, can we? I mean, by definition, that thing is three years old already.

Now, I’m sure that kid was socially distancing from my son, as is the requirement on campus, and they were both wearing masks, as is also the requirement.

No pencils, pens, paper, erasers, computers, vapes, needles, water bottles, etc. were shared between the two, and they obviously did not touch each other’s desks, because that is strictly forbidden.

However, since my son was identified as one of the students at a desk most closely properly socially distanced from the lad with the positive test, my son was sent home to quarantine. (You will note that I said, “positive test,” and not “sick,” “ill,” or “contagious.” Those are important distinctions that are obviously lost on you.)

My son was not tested, nor did he have any symptoms of anything at all, other than a teenage attitude, but he was sent home, just in case.

Soooo… I have some questions.

First, the very obvious one. Why would my son be in danger of getting a virus from a kid if they were socially distanced and both wearing masks? I mean, it was safe to go back to school if the kids did those things, right? Do those things not work? Or are you unable to get the kids to comply with those rules?

Second, we have another son that attends the same school. Son Number One, who actually lives with Number Two, and doesn’t just sit adjacent to him at a desk with a mask on, is still allowed to show up on campus to learn. That luxury has been taken away from Son Number Two because you think he might also have the VID. So, we’re being super careful with Number Two because he may or may not be a ticking time bomb of disease, but I mean, what the hell – the kid he actually wrestles with at home can come on campus all he wants.

Thirdly, along the exact same lines, I am a water polo coach at the same school. I am also required to wear a mask and socially distance from the players (and we totally do that, by the way!). I also live with the ticking time bomb, yet you are totally cool with me showing up and coaching lots of kids from the school in my apparently useless mask.

And, not finally, but the last point that I have the patience to make – you require him to get tested around seven days after the date you said the alleged masked, distanced contamination occurred. If his test comes back positive, obviously he will be sealed into small, plastic-lined box and shipped overseas. But if it comes back negative, you will let him come back to school. You quarantined a perfectly healthy child, not knowing if he was secretly sick, but you’re going to let him back into school with that exact same amount of information.

You see, a negative COVID test tells you that the kid didn’t have COVID at the exact second the nasal swab left his nose. What if he got it while leaving the testing facility, by walking six feet apart from another masked kid there to get tested? And it takes anywhere from two to six days to get the results back from the lab, depending on how good the testing company’s governmental lobby is. That’s quite a bit of time for him to suck in some VID through one of these masks that block the virus or don’t.

I don’t have the energy, or enough crayons, to explain to you why none of this makes any sense at all. Just please know that the fact that you are making policies like this, coupled with the fact that you are in charge of the education of our youth, concerns me deeply.

I know I used a lot of big words there, so maybe you should take this to a teacher and have them explain it to you.

Yours in educational excellence through continued partnership,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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  1. Hahaha! So well articulated. I’m gonna have to share this one.

  2. Thanks, Lindsay! Hope you are well. Cheers!

  3. Well done, Smidge! At the very least, you gave them a smidgen of good data to process.