Missouri National Education Association President Phil Murray responded to Governor Mike Parson’s statement that Missouri school children will be infected with COVID-19, and when they do, “they’re gonna get over it.”
Governor Parson’s statement demonstrates a callous disregard for the suffering of children and the safety of the parents, grandparents, educators, and students that will be put at risk if schools are reopened with improper plans and protections.
When the governor says that children are, “gonna get over it” he forgets that some children won’t. He forgets that some children will be left with life-long health problems, and some children will lose their lives. He forgets the parents, grandparents, educators, and other children who will become sick and will suffer unnecessarily.
The governor’s inaccurate and reckless statement should concern every Missourian. Yes, reopening schools is vital to the health and well-being of our children and communities, but it must be done responsibly. That includes ensuring our educators are given the desperately needed resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Educators are constantly told to do more with less at a time when our schools need the necessary resources to protect students. Already this year communities have seen over $250 million in cuts to local schools all while the governor found $15 million to advertise Missouri as a tourist destination in the midst of a pandemic.
It is time for elected leaders to listen to frontline educators, parents, and students who are working to develop comprehensive plans to keep our students, educators, and families safe.
Phil Murray is president of the Missouri National Education Association.