School replaced with ‘equity hubs’ in Maryland’s most populous county

School replaced with ‘equity hubs’ in Maryland’s most populous county
It seems like such a nice place. (Image: Screen grab of YouTube video)

Progressive Montgomery County, Maryland is closing down some of its schools, to cater to irrational fears fanned by teachers unions. In place of school, it is providing “equity hubs.” No teacher is present in an “equity hub,” but kids can study together and learn online.

As Hot Air notes: “Closing down schools due to fear of infection and then gathering the kids together anyway is *chef’s kiss*….Congregating children in a space to learn but insisting that they learn virtually, through a screen, feels like a lowbrow parody of the irrationality of COVID policies in schools….The ‘equity hubs’ nonsense is proof” that “the school district does believe it’s safe enough to bring children together in an enclosed space to learn.”

Paid proctors are there to watch the kids. So it’s “okay for kids to congregate” in the eyes of “Montgomery County, and it’s also okay for an adult to be there along with them the whole time, so long as that adult is not a teacher,” observed Walter Olson of the Cato Institute.

The Montgomery Schools announced:

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MCPS is providing in-person Equity Hubs for Kindergarten through Grade 5 students in schools that have transitioned to virtual learning. Virtual learning may pose a challenge for families whose children need a safe place to learn while their parents work; cannot access virtual learning from home or who need a more structured learning environment. The Black and Brown Coalition and The Children’s Opportunity Fund have partnered with childcare providers to establish Equity Hubs as a solution.

Families whose children are engaged in virtual learning can register for all-day child care and support during virtual instruction at one of 103 Equity Hubs across Montgomery County.

So Montgomery County is only providing “equity hubs” for the elementary schools it is closing, not the middle schools or high schools it is closing.

As Hot Air observes, “We should start calling schools” themselves “equity hubs.” “That might make Democrats want to keep them open…Thought experiment: What if we had actual teachers supervising the children at these equity hubs? Perhaps with a blackboard and some chalk tastefully positioned at the front of the room? And what if, to pass the time, the teacher taught things and the children learned?”

“I kinda hope the proctors are actually teachers getting paid overtime,” economist Scott Lincicome sarcastically observed about this arrangement.

As Hot Air points out, “this inane ‘virtual, but in person’ set-up isn’t new. They were doing it in Virginia a year ago.”

A local CBS TV station reported:

As students across the region start trickling back into schools, they may find their teachers still at home. Montgomery and Fairfax County are hiring $15-an-hour monitors to keep an eye on students in some classrooms, while their teachers log in through the internet. Some parents have criticized the plan, saying it sounds like glorified babysitting, while others are eager to get their kids back in school, even without teachers there…“The classroom teacher will actually be doing the instruction and the teaching, just from a remote standpoint or virtual standpoint,” Brooks said. “But the classroom monitor will be able to assist with taking attendance and the needs that the students have right there.”

Hot Air laments, “As has been the case for most of the pandemic, teachers absurdly overestimate the risk to themselves and their students from being in class together and don’t want to come back until the Omicron wave is over. They’re not infected, they’re just keen to avoid infection. Let the low-paid proctors at the ‘equity hubs’ cope with that risk instead, I guess.”

On January 6, schools closed in neighboring Arlington, Virginia, because teachers had difficulty finding quality daycare for their kids after a modest snowfall.  The school system admitted that “the primary and neighborhood roads in Arlington are clear and our schools are ready.” But some of its teachers had kids, and some of those teachers complained they had faced childcare challenges due to the inclement weather.

Politics, not public health, has been behind most decisions to close schools during the coronavirus situation. Local officials’ decisions were driven mainly by teachers “union influence and politics, not safety,” reported Reason Magazine. It noted that Jon Valant, a researcher at the liberal Brookings Institution, found that decisions to keep schools closed were driven by politics, not levels of “COVID-19 risk.” Left-wing teachers unions repeatedly thwarted school reopenings. Some used “sick-outs” to shut down schools and force school boards to delay school openings.

Schools have long been open in many European countries.

Many kids became fatter when America’s schools closed to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. “Overweight or obesity increased among 5- through 11-year-olds from 36.2% to 45.7% during the pandemic, an absolute increase of 8.7% and relative increase of 23.8%,” noted the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That’s making the effects of the pandemic much worse. “The evidence linking obesity to adverse COVID-19 outcomes is ‘overwhelmingly clear,’” say health experts. More than half of all people hospitalized for the coronavirus are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Children virtually never die of the coronavirus, but if they are obese, they can require hospitalization for it as a result of their fatness. A study by Stanford researchers found that COVID can infect fat cells, causing *long COVID*.” Fat cells are “targets of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” which helps “explain the link between obesity and severe COVID-19.”

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for CNSNews.com and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at [email protected]

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