Their lives matter too

Subject: Their lives matter too
From: Cy Ashton
Date: 6 Jan 2021

It has been nearly a year since this world-wide pandemic has taken over. It has been nearly a year since we learned just how far Rutherford County School Board and Governor Bill Lee are willing to protect the teachers and staff of their schools.

At the end of the day, yes, students choose whether or not they would like to attend a physical or online school. Unlike the students, teachers, and workers of these in-person schools do not have such a luxury. Instead, they are told that they are out of a job if they choose not to attend. Mind you, this not only goes for the healthy and able-bodied teachers- but the teachers who suffer from susceptibility, chronic illnesses, and many other factors that qualify them as high risk.

While attending high school, I made many friends along the way, many of whom were teachers. One released her job title because she refused to sacrifice her son's life. Another one retired because both she and her husband are at high risk. I know of one who must stay... though she is a high risk, she has bills. And finally, Mr.Picklesimer. A man who was so dedicated to his job at Siegel High, he put his life on the line. A fatal decision.

It is no news to our population that the state of Tennessee has the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita. In the world. No, not in the country. The entirety of the planet. And yet, we are putting our people in danger. For what I assume to be a loftier check in your wallet.

Living in the Bible belt of America, we must put God's words into action. Show your brothers and sisters that they mean more to you than money and budget. Because I promise you, these people have families. Families that are mourning the loss of their parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.

We do not have the resources to keep the schools open and functioning. Our one, two, three is you're lucky, custodians per school cannot keep up. Talking to Siegel's custodian last year, when Covid had not yet hit us, he was already so worn out. Letting out a sigh of disappointment every time he saw someone had destroyed the bathroom. Now, there are roughly 120 teachers at Siegel, not including interventionists. Saying every classroom is at an average capacity of 27- a very loose estimate of 3,240 desks to thoroughly wipe down. Let's take a crazy thought and assume that teachers would like to help the custodians. Thoroughly wiping a table should take 30 seconds MINIMUM. Again, let's say that there are 27 desks in a room. It would take 13 minutes to wipe down the desks barely. Siegel only has 5 minutes between classes. I would still see the custodians working 2,3,4, up to 5 hours after school. They cannot handle the extra workload.

You give us tornado drills, fire drills, and code reds to try and protect us. But Covid has killed more people than all of those in Ruco. I ask you: do their lives matter? You aren't showing me that they do.