I spend a lot of time criticising people in power for making wrong choices with regard to this pandemic. I don’t enjoy this. But if no-one points out the mistakes being made, they aren’t going to stop. But when public officials make the right choice, it is important to give them credit. And Dr. Bruce E. Storm, Superintendent of Schools for Regional School District 12 in Washington Connecticut deserves praise for a tough decision he recently made.
Here is a memo, which he sent today:
To: James Hirschfield, Chairman, Region 12 Board of Education
Members, Region 12, Board of Education
From: Bruce Storm
Re: Decision to Close School
I want to let you know that after considerable discussion with the Administrative Cabinet and consultation with our nursing professionals, I made a determination to close our schools on Thursday and Friday. As you will note in the letter I have sent home (attached), our absences are not extremely high, but we are seeing a steady increase in those numbers and we would like to try and slow the cycle of infection prior to Thanksgiving in a few weeks. This was a tough decision and can be misunderstood; it is preemptive and precautionary and intended to stabilize the health of our kids. I realize that it may create inconvenience for some families, but on balance we thought it best to err on the side of our students’ health and welfare.
A lot of schools have closed after absences reach untenable levels. These are reactionary school closures. However, if the goal is to save lives, schools must be closed before the damage is done. Superintendent Storm didn’t wait until his school system collapsed in a mass outbreak of ill students and teachers. He was proactive, not reactive. Other school systems are making different decisions, some of them in nearby areas of Connecticut. It is not hard to predict the consequences of these different choices.
Kudos to Superintendent Storm for thinking ahead and put the interests of his students first.