There seems to be consensus, a strange and foreign concept in these times, that most children would do much better with in-person schooling as opposed to virtual or distance learning.

Seems like something on which we can all agree. The difference, is how we get there.

Looking back on how the pandemic progressed and how it affected education, it mostly seems like we’ve gone from wishful thinking to magical thinking.

Wishful thinking was setting up a system that would require community spread to drop to a very low threshold before returning to full-time in-person instruction.

We never got there. We never really got close in Payne County.

Magical thinking is that we could suddenly turn on a dime, and get teachers and students back in the classroom without really laying any groundwork for the return.

The latest, and most troubling line of thinking, is the kind that wants to pit parents against teachers.

When the first priority lists were being discussed for vaccinations in Oklahoma, a lot of people questioned why teachers were lower on the list than others. Now, they’ve been moved to the second tier, and that’s become part of the discussion to getting kids back in the classroom.

It’s logical. But, so is working to mitigate community spread.

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s thinking is that maybe the state board of education could supersede local districts.

Odd that, considering whenever anyone asked the governor about statewide masks mandates, he said he didn’t want to interfere with local control.

We want students and teachers safely back in classrooms. We also want the rest of our front line workers to be safe. It seems there is still a lot we could do to make things a little safer in Oklahoma.

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