Questions for Secretary of Education DeVos concerning opening the schools in the fall

reading time: 2 minutes

Empty classroom - soon to be filled?

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash


EDITORIAL NOTE: The following set of questions has been posted a number of times on Facebook, by a diverse set of people, but without attribution. We publish them here because they seem highly relevant to the ongoing debate about the wisdom of opening our nation’s K-12 schools in the fall. For those who have not seen them, they may be eye-opening. For those who have, they are reminders of serious concerns that must be addressed before any decision is made to re-open the schools while we are in the midst of an ongoing pandemic which, as of now, is worsening in the USA.1



For those of you back at school, how has your district answered these questions? Have they asked Betsy DeVos these questions?

Secretary DeVos,2 we have a few questions for you:

  • If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

  • If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

  • Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

  • What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

  • Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

  • Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

  • What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

  • What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?

  • How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?

  • How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?

30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.

We are choosing to put our teachers in danger.

We’re not paying them more.

We aren’t spending anywhere near the right amount to protect them. And in turn, we are putting ourselves and our kids in danger.

  1. “…At least two states, Arizona and North Carolina, announced single-day records on Saturday. Arizona reported more than 130 new deaths, and North Carolina said it had more than 2,360 new cases. / On Friday, for the second time, more than 70,000 coronavirus cases were announced in the United States, according to a New York Times database. A day earlier, the country set a record with 75,600 new cases, the 11th time in the past month that the daily record had been broken. / The outbreak is so widespread that 18 states have been placed in a so-called red zone because they have more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people per week…” (“The F.D.A. signs off on pooled testing, which significantly expands diagnostic capacity”^

  2. “Betsy DeVos” in the original. ^


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page author: Tom Cloyd | reviewed 2020-07-19:1208 PDT