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THE RELIGION CORNER: School Buildings Opening Again — During Severe COVID Outbreaks

Last year, the world experienced a modern-day pandemic. Our students had to leave schools, colleges and universities, and we all went inside, shut the door and turned on our computers.

No more face-to-face meetings; we became instant members of the Zoom family. In fact, there were telephone conference calls and Zoom sessions going on at every level to the point that you could hardly get in to your call because there were so many users and the line was often busy.

With orders from governors and mayors, all I could think of was the Yolanda Adams song released in 1995, “What About the Children?” It seems to sum up our situation by saying, “What about the children?/To ignore is so easy/So many innocent children would choose the wrong way/So what about the children?/Remember when we were children/And if not for those who loved us/and who cared enough to show us/where would we be today?”

We’re heading back to school for another year of a pandemic that seems to be taking on more children than ever before. We’re hearing horror stories of massive numbers of kids infected with the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, which is said to be a thousand times worse. I can only equate this new strain to a severe hurricane heading our way — we’ve been warned, and it has picked up steam during these past couple months.

Yet here we all are, teachers, school administrators, school bus drivers, poised for the first day of school in the DMV.

Many have already gone back in other parts of the country, and not all of them are doing so good. Quarantine is nearly the order of the day.

The Associated Press reported that just a few weeks into the new school year, growing numbers of U.S. districts have halted in-person learning or switched to hybrid models because of rapidly mounting coronavirus infections.

More than 80 school districts or charter networks have closed or delayed in-person classes for at least one entire school in more than a dozen states. Others have sent home whole grade levels or asked half their students to stay home on hybrid schedules.

The setbacks in mostly small, rural districts that were among the first to return dampen hopes for a sustained, widespread return to classrooms after two years of schooling disrupted by the pandemic.

In Georgia, where in-person classes are on hold in more than 20 districts that started the school year without mask requirements, some superintendents say the virus appeared to be spreading in schools before they sent students home.

“We just couldn’t manage it with that much staff out, having to cover classes and the spread so rapid,” said Eddie Morris, superintendent of the 1,050-student Johnson County District in Georgia. With 40% of students in quarantine or isolation, the district shifted last week to online instruction until Sept. 13.

Back in the DMV, hundreds of Fairfax County families already find their children in quarantine after the county school system logged 160 confirmed coronavirus cases — most of them students — in the past two weeks, NBC News 4 reported.

Not very encouraging for a second-career retirement teacher like myself, scheduled to begin teaching elementary children currently without an approved vaccine for their age group.

Yet D.C. Public Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools are opening full bore. Prince George’s County Public Schools has lots of options for virtual classes, if preferred, as well as in-person classes.

Let us all pray, and think about II Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

It’s praying time, Saints.

Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email lyndiagrantshowdc@gmail.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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