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Four Years Ago Today: Abandon HopeWhen Schools Were Shut Down

By Cindy Sheehan

March 13, 2024

It’s been over four years since the unnecessary and counter-productive global lockdown commenced. The emergence of Macaroni-19 and the deranged governmental responses that followed have generated significant debate and analysis. One aspect that has received less attention is the early closures of schools, particularly in the state of California. This move, lauded by some for its proactive stance, has also come under fire for the underlying rationale, its long-term impact, and the potential for harm to society. Newsolini jumped the shark and his damaging polices never adversely affected his own children.

In this post, we’ll explore the multifaceted fallout from California’s decision to close schools on 13 March 2020. We’ll examine the factors surrounding this monumental decision, the repercussions it had on students’ academic achievement and mental well-being, and the ripple effect that touched the lives of families and communities.
A Decision Rooted in Uncertainty

When Governor Gavin Newsolini announced that schools in California would be closing to mitigate the spread of Macaroni-19, due to the climate of fear and the crapaganda, the move was widely supported (not by many people I know) and seemed to some like a necessary precaution. However, as we now know, the closure of schools was based on limited information about the virus’ transmission among children and its lethality, which was significantly less than initially feared. Another question we need to ask ourselves is who knew what and when did they know it?
Leading the Charge With Incomplete Data

At the time of the announcement, the world was still grappling with understanding Macaroni-19, and a sense of urgency clouded the need for comprehensive data. Political leaders, health officials, and educators went far beyond the scope of their duties and made decisions under extreme uncertainty, with potential dire consequences for the broader community.
The Economic and Social Costs

Beyond public health concerns, the immediate closure of schools had significant economic and social costs. Working parents, especially “essential workers,” were left to scramble for child care, often at the sacrifice of one parent leaving the workforce altogether, or leaving children that were far too young to stay home alone. The social fabric that schools provide, particularly to vulnerable populations, was abruptly torn, with long-lasting repercussions that are still being felt today. In my own family, I know we still haven’t recovered from just this one aspect of the measures.
The Loss of Learning and Lifelines

For students, school is not just an institution for learning; it acts as a social and mental lifeline. The prolonged closure of schools in California led to a significant loss in educational progress, but the extent of the impact goes beyond academic metrics.
The Fallacy of Online Learning

The switch to online learning was a major experiment in education, and the results were far from favorable. Disparities in access to technology, the inability to replicate the social environment of a classroom, and the struggle with remote engagement resulted in a learning environment that was grossly inadequate for many students. During that time period, I helped monitor online “learning” for four of my grandchildren from 3rd to 8th grade and I can assure you all that the practice was nothing but ridiculous.

Even being monitored, I’d catch them watching YouTube, or texting friends during the time they were supposed to be in “school.” They weren’t made to have their cameras on, or engage with the teacher who seemed even more like drones than usual. Students were passed to the next grades without having even a basic understanding of what they needed to learn for that school year.
Mental Health Crisis Among the Youth

The isolation and upheaval that students faced during the pandemic led to a mental health crisis. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts among young people surged, indicating that the decision to close schools might have inadvertently caused a public health emergency of a different kind.
Impact on Families and Society

The decision to close schools in California was not made in isolation. It had far-reaching effects that touched every aspect of society, from families to the economy at large.

As if completely closing the schools was not harmful enough, Newsolini also decreed from the top of his greasy head, to the bottom of his cloven hooves, that parks, beaches, rec centers, and youth sports would also be suspended. He blocked everything healthy and replaced those things with disease.
Family Dynamics Under Strain

The closure of schools placed undue stress on families. Balancing work, child care, and the educational needs of children made something that was already challenging, an untenable clu$terfudge, exacerbating existing disparities and straining family dynamics.

During that time period, we were close to at least two families with young, school-aged children who fled the state in 2020—one family to Idaho, and the other to Texas. I must confess, I felt a little jealousy over their ability to get the heck out of Dodge.
The Economic Ripple Effect

The economic ripples of school closures were substantial. Job loss, reduced workforce participation, and the need for additional support for children learning from home compounded the financial strain on families.
Never Forget, Never Forgive

Los Angeles and Oakland students in the education equity lawsuit Cayla J. v. California, filed in 2020, accused the state and its education officials of not providing guidance, support, and oversight during that time, allowing massive instructional and technology gaps to widen between low-income students and their wealthier peers, particularly for students in remote learning during school closures. Link to read more.

Even though Newsolini and the state recently lost a 2 billion dollar lawsuit, I feel like Newsolini is getting away with literal murder due to his reckless and feckless Macaroni-19 policies. He didn’t do it alone, the major school unions fought against reopening schools, thus invalidating any claim to ethics, or concern for their students. There were fearful parents who didn’t want their students to return, but it seems to me, a grandma, that there could have been more healthy and rational ways to get around completely closing online learning for families who were fearful and in person instruction for those who were not? My oldest daughter was teaching at the time and she was a big advocate for not closing schools, and, reopening them faster. There had to be more teachers like my daughter, right?

Please don’t elect Newsolini as president (as if our votes really count), but, also, never forget this terrible period, nor forgive those who caused so much harm.

Cindy Lee Sheehan is an American anti-war activist, whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended antiwar protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch—a stand that drew both passionate support and criticism. Sheehan ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008. She was a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006. In an interview with The Daily Beast in 2017, Sheehan continued to hold her critical views towards George W. Bush, while also criticizing the militarism of Donald Trump.

Ms.Sheehan was the 2012 vice-presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party, and received 1.2% of the statewide vote in the 2014 California gubernatorial election.

The author graciously has granted permission to this website publish selected essays and articles.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of APS Radio News or of its affiliate, APS Radio.

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