LETTER: Wilton Petition to Fully Re-Open Miller-Driscoll & Cider Mill is ‘Foolishness’

To the Editor:

A petition is currently circulating that asks for Superintendent Kevin Smith to re-open the elementary schools full-time rather than starting with a hybrid or lower capacity model. Not that I believe a petition will or should have any impact on any district’s plans, but I urge those swayed by it to consider the foolishness of blindly leaping back into the classroom without testing the waters first.

Most adults right now would not be at ease sitting in a small room for six hours with 23 colleagues. Now imagine those colleagues as restless 5-10 year-olds who lack impulse control, common sense, and “listening ears.” The hybrid model allows a cautious re-entry to some semblance of normalcy while preventing excess illness and death.

The petition states that the district’s concern of “keeping ourselves and others safe” is “fear-based” and “ambiguous.” Far from it. It’s a common-sense premise based on a plethora of data.

We’re not suddenly immune to an infectious disease because we already went through the pain of a surge. We’ve been wearing masks for five months, our socializing is done outdoors (if at all) and nearly everyone has been working from home, shopping online and not traveling or having overnight guests. That is why the hospitals and morgues aren’t full right now, not because Covid-19 is eradicated.

The petition also argues that Wilton’s children deserve more than “a half education.” Our kids don’t deserve anything right now but for us to be responsible adults and to review what we learned ourselves in science class about testing hypotheses. The hypothesis presented in the petition is that we can safely allow the kids to go back full-time, even though we’ve not yet tested anything close to this scenario. It’s a bold proposal based on nothing but hope. Even most 5th graders know that experimenting needs to be done slowly or it’s pointless. When our kids and their teachers are the guinea pigs, it’s also reckless.

Jennifer Wulff