Grim. And out of step with her own party, which has been trying harder lately amid the many reports of children suffering during the pandemic to signal that it’s putting kids first now. Pop quiz: Which firebreathing Republican governor recently said this?
“I’m very, very sensitive to this, the learning opportunities that are lost because kids are not safely in school, the challenges of going online,” [the governor] said when asked this month about distance learning. “My son, we had fits and starts, he’s in and out of school, said, ‘Please, Daddy, no more Zoom school.’”
“I hear that echoed all throughout the state…,” he continued. “It’s really a critical, top priority for us to keep the schools open.”
Ron DeSantis? Nope. Gavin Newsom.
In fairness to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, most of her state’s schools are open now. And students in Newsom’s state continue to mask, putting him and Hochul on the same page in terms of precautions in the classroom. But even so, her tone towards the end of this clip is jarring given the attention paid by the media lately to the pandemic’s heavy toll on children. “Kids are resilient” has become a dark punchline among anti-restriction conservatives to mock the left’s cavalier attitude towards sustained COVID hardships on their sons and daughters.
MASK MANDATES FOR CHILDREN: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) says: "My daughter had a meltdown about having to put sneakers on to go to kindergarten. She got used to wearing sneakers in school. They adapt better than adults do." pic.twitter.com/pOYz3WY95i
— Forbes (@Forbes) January 21, 2022
That soundbite is even stranger in context. Around the same time Hochul was waving off concerns about children having to mask, she was celebrating the rapid decline of New York’s Omicron wave on Twitter:
We’re in the single digits, New York! For the first time since December 20, our COVID positivity rate is under 10%.
Thank you to everyone who’s been taking steps to stay safe. Keep using the tools: Get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested, and wear a mask.
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 21, 2022
If the threat is passing, why not cut kids a break? Hochul should do what liberals have traditionally done when setting policy, looking across the Atlantic for inspiration:
Pupils won't need to wear face coverings in classrooms in schools and colleges from today.
This is because the national data shows the prevalence of Covid to be on a downward trajectory.
Face coverings will no longer be needed in indoor communal areas from Thurs 27 January. pic.twitter.com/bUicFdNDwF
— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) January 20, 2022
Maybe she will. Maybe:
BREAKING: Governor Kathy Hochul says she expects NY school districts will no longer enforce mask wearing in classes once she ends the statewide mandate next month.
"When the state mandate lapses, I expect all school districts will say, 'We don't have to do this anymore."
— Erich Hartmann (@erichhartmann) January 21, 2022
At least the schools are open, right? Now kids can start catching up on all the education they lost when their states switched over to remote learning. One small catch about that, though: Much of the tutoring that’s happening now is … also remote.
The stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, will send $122 billion to schools over three years, and a sizable portion of that money will go toward tutoring. But because of labor shortages, the high cost of quality tutoring and the influence of a growing ed-tech industry, much of the tutoring will itself take place through a computer screen — and not always with a human on the other end.
For-profit companies and nonprofit groups are selling virtual tutoring services to school districts. Some programs use live video to try to replicate in-person tutoring as closely as possible. Others skip the human tutor and use artificial intelligence. And some are essentially instant-messaging services, with students and tutors randomly paired for brief typed chats, often organized around homework assignments…
“A key piece of tutoring is that social relationship with a caring adult,” said Amanda Neitzel, an assistant research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education. “How can you build that in an online format?”
We threw $122 billion at the problem so that kids could go from trying to learn from a teacher on a screen to trying to learn from AI on a screen. At least they don’t have to mask at home while they’re failing to absorb anything.
I’ll leave you with this thought from a pediatrician, in honor of the news that schools are closing next week in Flint, Michigan due to COVID while everything else stays open. The left deserves what it’s going to get in November.
It still boggles my mind that the ONLY thing we close for Covid is school. So many other things are responsible for so many more transmissions, but still… it's just school.
— Aaron E. Carroll (@aaronecarroll) January 21, 2022