Category: Education

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Easter was Four Months Ago, Right?

Walking up Meade Avenue in San Diego neighborhood North Park, today, I stopped to wonder which “A” month is now. Because this poster reads April but surely it’s August. My wife focused on something else, stepping forward, pointing, and commenting on the absurdity of an egg hunt for anyone “18 and up”. Huh?

Odder still, the location of the poster: Garfield Elementary. That to me precludes anyone over 12. Then there is question why the school promotes an event that occurred more than four months ago. Granted, education should be timeless but this?

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Let the Kids Breathe!

Seriously, San Diego Unified School District?  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates are back, starting yesterday. Students are required to muzzle up—uh, wear masks—once more. Because of the time of year, you might ask “Who cares?” Some kids are taking summer classes, then there are the year-round schools like Alice Birney Elementary.

Granted, Omicron BA.5 rapidly spreads. But the virus is unstoppably contagious—and that’s without factoring the science too often ignored by policymakers: Because of its small size, SARS-CoV-2 easily passes through most face coverings, like those that youngsters wear.

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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I Wasn’t Prepared for This

On Valentine’s Day, we rushed to be among the people signing up for “The Prepper’s Roadmap”. Initial enrollment ended on February 18, and we paid $197 for the privilege. The course seeks to educate enrollees about how to prepare for calamities, whether they be natural disasters (like earthquakes or wildfires here in San Diego) or crisis of human instigation (like cyberattack that takes down banking systems or power grids), among others. I would recommend the educational series, if the first-round of registrations hadn’t closed. You can’t sign up today; in the future, though.

My wife and I aren’t so-called preppers—and we never expect be. Meaning: If you’re looking for a horde of food or supplies during an apocalypse, we won’t have it. Our apartment is small and we aren’t of the mindset. That said, we do recognize the increasingly dangerous times in which we live, when looking at advancing economic crisis or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example. Not being naturally paranoid about catastrophes and preparation for them, Annie and I liked the idea of getting some no-nonsense advice from someone who is sensible rather than the typically fanatical.

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Parents Protest San Diego School District Vaxx Mandates

Late afternoon, my wife asked: “What is all that honking?” Annie was right. Car horns could be heard in the distance, occasionally and repeatedly tooting. We turned to one another flummoxed over the sudden roar of cheering that reminded of sporting events. What was going on nearby—and where? I left to find out, following the sounds that piqued our mutual curiosities.

Our University Heights apartment is located about .8-kilometer (one-half mile) walking distance from administrative offices for San Diego Unified School District, where a sizable crowd had gathered with picket signs. As I arrived, a woman’s voice bellowed over loudspeakers advocating against vaccine mandates and for parents’ rights to choose for their children—not the government nor SDUSD. What I didn’t understand: The school board scheduled a 5 p.m. PDT meeting to vote on a proposal requiring staff and some students to be vaccinated. How ironic: They cowered in isolation via Zoom, while parents protested in person.

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Parlez-vous Français?

I shot the Featured Image for two reasons: Surprise to find a French preschool on Park Blvd in downtown University Heights; reminiscence—our daughter nearly attended a public French immersion school when we lived in Maryland. I have often wondered why she failed to make the cut. Could it be that she would enter as a first-grader instead of a kindergartener? Because: She was first on the waiting list, and the administration told us that admission was almost a certainty—some student(s) either dropping out or not showing up were frequent occurrences.

The kids learned English and French side-by-side in a program that lasted through eighth grade. Had Molly been accepted, and had she stayed, our family’s destiny would have changed. We would have unlikely left the Washington, D.C. area and moved across country to San Diego.

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California Reopens

But explain to school kids what’s different, because they have to wonder. While establishments of all types are open at full capacity, the classroom routine is little changed: Students must continue to wear masks—a requirement that baffles the frak out of me. Is it possible reason that most of them have not been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19? For adults, the mask-mandate is only lifted for those people who have had the shot(s). Children are extremely unlikely to be infected, manifest the disease, become seriously sick, or die. So why muzzle them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 0-4 account for 2.1 percent of U.S. COVID cases; 10.4 percent for 5-17 year-olds. Deaths: Zero percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Citizens ages 18-49 account for 4.7 percent of total deaths, so teachers are probably pretty safe—especially if vaccinated. So, again, I ask: Why muzzle the kids? This morning, my wife and I passed by Birney Elementary as students arrived; they all wore masks, and parents, too!

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COVID California: No School or Anything Else for You

Yesterday, which was when I captured the Featured Image, Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced that students would not return to classrooms next month as previously planned. Kids will study online instead, as they had been since late March when Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed California in response to the so-called pandemic. Also yesterday, he issued new orders that start a second statewide shutdown. Most indoor activities are prohibited; no more church services, shopping mall extravaganzas, zoo visits, gym exercising, barber haircutting, restaurant eating, or bar hoping—among many other activities and the business operations providing them.

There is nothing like the art of understatement. From the LA-SD joint statement: “This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August. It is obviously an even greater disappointment to the many parents who are anxious for their students to resume their education. Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand”.

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Too Much for Some, Not Enough for Others

Today, while walking with my wife along Meade Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, I was reminded about the food giveaway still going on at Garfield Elementary. Four full cartoons of skim milk littered the sidewalk and, later, a twist-tied bag containing unopened cereal and other sugary breakfast eats that would appeal to children.

In mid-March, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of most businesses and all schools. While the state is now reopening and adults return to work, kids remain home—many with parents who are still furloughed or fired. San Diego County’s unemployment rate is a staggering 15 percent, up from about 3.5 percent before the lockdown precipitated by the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. Select schools offer free food to needy families, and they are many.

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No Pass, No Comic-Con for Me

San Diego Comic-Con commences in two evenings. Unless something dramatically unexpected happens, I will not attend any part of the event—only miss since my first go-there in 2009. I managed only one day last year after being there for every other Con. Looks like 2018 will be even less.

I have resigned myself to circumstance, following failed Returning and Open registration attempts to purchase passes. I may go to Gaslamp, like last year, to shoot street photos with the Leica M10. Or maybe not.