Re-Opening Our Schools in the Time of COVID-19

Re-Opening Our Schools

Since we closed our schools back in March 2020, we have had an ongoing debate as to when and how to re-open our schools. It has been a debate involving economics, health and politics, about the needs of individuals, families, political and ideological needs as well as those of society as a whole.

What to do; what to do?

My proposal is serious, although a bit tongue-in-cheek, as I recognize the impossibility of its being implemented, even on a small scale.

I taught both shop and academic classes in SoCal public junior high/middle schools for some forty years, retiring in 2012. Yes, I do have some idea of classroom conditions in a system which places thirty-five to forty teenagers in a room with a teacher for about an hour per class five or six times a day.

Class Size

My History and English classes usually held thirty-six to forty students. Let’s take a class of thirty-six students and “social distance” them. We’ll place them along one wall and the back of the room, imagining that there need be no room between the student and the wall. Assuming six rows with six students in each, we need a class 30 feet by 30 feet; add six feet in the front and one side for teacher and student movement our class needs to be 36 feet by 36 feet = 1,296 square feet/a small 3-bedroom house.

If you believe this is doable, I suggest you go to your child’s school and measure your child’s classroom(s). If your child’s classes have more or fewer students, mark the floor with blocks or legos or tape, lay out student positions, six feet apart and then allow room for the teacher, any aides and movement into, out of, and within the room. See what you come up with.

Air and Water

Does your child’s classroom have good ventilation: door(s), windows that open for cross ventilation or any ventilation at all? How about the heating/air-conditioning system, is it adequate?

Does the classroom have a sink for washing hands? If not, how about the toilet facilities? Check them out. Are they adequate and clean? Would you use them? If not, your child shouldn’t have to either.


There are many other things I could touch on here: movement between classes, lunch, PE, choir and band, arrival and departure, recess/nutrition, custodial services, finances (in a contracting economy), but I’ll leave those for later. After all, you have an imagination — use it.


President Trump and Secretary of Education DeVos and other public figures are pushing for schools to re-open, regardless of the current pandemic.

They are correct in that we need to educate our children. We also need to care for (babysit them) so that their parents can go back to work. If you do not believe that childcare is a function of our educational system, you need to get real and open your eyes; perhaps, you can listen to those parents who cannot go to work because they have young children to tend.

OK, to the nitty-gritty. Our physical facilities (schools) are inadequate to meet the needs for the social distancing of our students and staff. So, let’s forget about social distancing — just send them back to school.

Sanitary facilities are inadequate, so, forget about them (after all, we’ve been doing so for decades) and give our kids their own bottles of sanitizer and hand wipes.

To make sure that things are okay, let’s have our political leaders send their children to our local public schools. After all, if it’s safe for our kids, it’s safe for theirs.


And, let’s make sure that those among us who refuse to wear masks send their children to school without masks and have them enrolled in classes with teachers who share their beliefs. Maybe, they can get jobs as substitute teachers for those teachers who are in high-risk categories or who simply want to be safe?

The rest of us can keep our kids at home and have them attend online classes until this emergency is over.

Child care? Why worry? How about we re-write parental responsibility laws so that parents can leave their underage children at home alone. That way the parents can go to work and get our economy working again. Maybe, we should re-write our child labor laws so kids could go to work rather than go to school.

How old does one have to be to flip burgers or operate cash registers with pictures for buttons? Place kids in jobs for unskilled labor that usually go to immigrants because we don’t want to go to fill low wage, high labor jobs. Childcare will be taken care of and we won’t have to worry about having those kids in school and fewer immigrants. Win-Win-Win.


Like I said, a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we really need to think and plan this re-opening before we send our children and teachers back to school. They are our future (as well as our present).


Health Warning!

Subject: WARNING: Don’t wash your hair in the shower. (Baths are also a problem.)

It’s so good to finally get a health warning that is useful!!!

It involves the shampoo that runs down your body when you shower with it. A warning to us all!

I don’t know WHY I didn’t figure this out sooner! I use shampoo in the shower!

When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning: “FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME.”

No wonder I have been gaining weight!!

Well! I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start showering with Dawn dish soap instead.


Growin’ Old

A 91-year-old man was requested by his Doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.”

The next day the 91-year-old man reappeared at the doctor’s office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day.

The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, “Well, doc, it’s like this — first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing.”

Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, still nothing.

We even called up Carol, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, and she even tried squeezin’ it between her knees, but still nothing.

The doctor was shocked! “You asked your neighbor?”

The old man replied, “Yep, none of us could get the jar open.”

Sad to grow old . . .

Our House — Our Cats — Our Rules

House Rules — Remember: We are only the cats’ staff.

  1. Our cats live here. It is their home, not yours, so show some respect. If you have been invited around, you know us well enough to know we are cat lovers.
  2. If you want to sit down, find an empty seat. Do not expect the cats to move.
  3. If you do not want to get covered in cat hair, then do not sit down, bring a lint roller or strip off at the door (although I rather hope you don’t).
  4. Do not ask us to remove the cats from a room; they live here.
  5. If you are allergic to cats, do not whine, just take a pill or use your phone to call.

    Mist and Smoke "Resting"
    Mist and Smoke “Resting”
  6. Do not shoo away the cats. If they decide to say hello, please, say hello to them. Should you be rude to them, we will see you out the door.
  7. If one or both cats chooses to sit on you, feel honored rather than annoyed. Do not upset the cat — see #6.
  8. You have no need to give us your opinion regarding the cats being allowed to be cats and do cat things. Neither we, nor the cats are interested.
  9. Saying, “They’re just cats,” is offensive. They are part of our family. We love and respect all of the members of our family and do not discriminate against those with four legs and fur. Indeed, we tend to discriminate in their favor.
  10. Finally, remember this at all times: We prefer the cats to you.


These are, of course, not original with us, and they have been adapted because we have multiple cats — I just couldn’t read the url the jpg came from.

How to Bathe a Cat by: The Dog

  1. Put both lids of the toilet up.
  2. Add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.
  3. Pick up and soothe the cat while you carry him (or her) to the bathroom.
  4. In one smooth motion put the cat in the toilet and close the lids. Note: You may need to stand on the lid.
  5. At this point the cat will self-agitate and make ample suds. Note: Ignore the noises coming from the toilet as the cat is actually enjoying the bath.
  6. Flush the toilet several times. (This will increase the effectiveness of the process and completely rinse the cat.)
  7. Have another member of the household open the front door to your house. Note: Ensure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.
  8. Stand away from the toilet and quickly lift the lid. Note: You may wish to stand in the tub or shower and use a stick or broom handle to lift the lid.
  9. The cat will quickly exit the toilet and bathroom, sort of like 3:00 am behavior, and be out the front door before you can blink.
  10. The cat will dry off and groom outside. Note: You may safely ignore the cat’s dirty looks as these will disappear the next time you use the can opener. Note 2: Both the cat and the toilet will be sparkling clean.