There’s a question mark in the headline because it’s hard to draw conclusions about what’s occurring in the clip, which lasts all of 10 seconds.
But there’s no question that this is happening at some schools despite the risk to children from COVID being almost nonexistent.
How many parents even know it’s going on?
CHILD ABUSE: Kindergartners are forced to eat lunch outside in 40 degree weather at Capitol Hill Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.
They sit on buckets to social distance from their classmates. pic.twitter.com/KqFcliTFYf
— Katie Daviscourt🇺🇸 (@KatieDaviscourt) December 8, 2021
The Post Millennial contacted the parent of a child who attends the school. “I am beyond furious, especially knowing children are low-risk,” they said. “Governor Brown maskless in DC this weekend was the last straw.” That’s correct — Kate Brown, the very liberal governor of Oregon, was seen maskless at an indoor event in Washington D.C. a few days ago despite having recently ordered a mask mandate for all indoor spaces in her home state. She’s such a hard-ass about restrictions that she ordered an *outdoor* mask mandate in August despite the mountain of evidence that transmission hardly ever happens outside.
It’s impossible to reconcile her risk calculus in D.C. with the risk calculus that requires five-year-olds to eat their baloney sandwiches with their coats on in 40-degree weather.
A few weeks ago, a news outlet in Minnesota reported that kids were being forced to eat lunch outdoors at a local school despite Minnesota winters being … unpleasant:
“I felt silly for not realizing that she was sitting outside when it was 36 degrees,” Palm stated…
At Normandale, if you bring cold lunch — like Palm’s daughter — you eat outdoors.
“It was surprising that they didn’t have any type of temperature guidelines for what might be too cold and that [the principal] wasn’t open to putting anything in writing so that we could make plans and go forward based on our family,” Palm explained after reaching out to the district about concerns.
Schools in Montclair, New Jersey, do have temperature guidelines — but the fact that it’s very cold outside is no guarantee that kids will be allowed inside to eat. Quote: “If the Real Feel temperature outside is 40 degrees or below, the elementary and middle school building administrators will look at a variety of other variables such as wind, precipitation and cloud coverage in order to determine if students will eat lunch inside or outside that day.”
The district did promise to provide “heavy-duty tents” for extremely cold weather, though. Why have your child risk catching COVID by eating inside the building, in an enclosed space with a comfortable temperature, when they can eat instead inside a tent, an enclosed space with an uncomfortable temperature?
It’s happening in NYC too. “It’s getting a little ridiculous at this point,” said one Manhattan mom to the New York Post of her child’s school. “They’ve eaten outdoors every day this week. It’s cold.” Another mother in Brooklyn said, “We’ve heard no plans to bring them inside anytime soon. In fact, they are still asking for parents to give the school their Fresh Direct bags to create seating pads. It doesn’t sound like they’re going in.” When the Post inquired with the city Department of Education, they were told that kids can eat indoors if they choose. That was news to the parents interviewed for the story.
Michelle Goldberg is a well-known columnist for the New York Times. She’s as liberal politically as you’d expect if you don’t know her work but she’s also a mom and her child has run squarely into this problem at her school in Brooklyn.
Most days they sit on the ground to eat outside, but parents were recently asked if their kids had permission to eat inside when it's too cold. My kids are double vaxxed so I said yes. In addition to not being allowed to sit at tables, they're not allowed to talk to each other.
— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) December 8, 2021
“They’re not allowed to talk to each other,” even the ones who are fully vaccinated. I’m almost afraid to ask what sort of pseudo-science justifies making kids sit on the floor to eat. Is the idea to space them out further apart than they’d be at a table? Because that sounds suspiciously like the debunked six-foot rule that the CDC abandoned months ago. Or is the idea that having your mouth and nose closer to the ground somehow means you’re less likely to inhale viral particles?
If Goldberg finds this insane, as she should, that’s a bright signal to school districts and their teachers union allies that they should change course immediately. Even leftists are starting to get pissed off.
The only consolation I have for you is that this isn’t happening exclusively in the U.S., assuming you find that a consolation.