Webb Wrap: Hang in there, educators, we appreciate your service . . . Does Utah practice a gentle conservatism?

COVID-19 is impacting and testing our education system, and all involved with it, like nothing ever before.

It has created immense uncertainty, with students bouncing between in-person and remote learning. It has been incredibly hard on teachers, administrators, parents and students. Many events have been cancelled, sports events are unpredictable. Some of life’s milestones, like graduations, proms and big games, will never be experienced. Many students are under stress and feeling depressed.

Parents have sometimes been unable to plan schedules; work has been interrupted when children must stay home; and many parents feel inadequate in helping with home learning. Single, working mothers have especially been placed in untenable situations, juggling work and erratic school schedules. There is much physical and mental exhaustion.

Some people worry that we’re essentially losing a year of education. I hope that’s not the case.

I think our education community, including all the stakeholders, is doing the absolute best it can in extremely difficult circumstances. Most students, parents, teachers and administrators are demonstrating resilience and perseverance. Teachers deserve and thanks and support.

However, one thing that is not helpful is teachers calling for sickouts. Going on strike at this time of crisis only causes resentment and anger when unity and patience are needed. Teachers face very challenging work environments, but so do nurses, police officers, and even grocery store workers.

This pandemic won’t go on forever. Our children will be resilient enough to bounce back. Everyone must simply make the best of the situation and roll with the ups and downs.

Reader Response. Michael Melendez, director of policy at the Libertas Institute, responded to a Wednesday article about tolerating a certain level of COVID-19 risk so we can live without onerous restrictions:

I know you’ll probably get some heat for the article you put out today, so I thought I’d reach out and say I appreciated it. As you pointed out, we deal with risk everyday of our lives and don’t often really think about it. The mass media can influence our brains to be more frightened of a particular risk, regardless of if it is warranted or not.

I wish this was a message everyone could understand. It would lead to much better policy making and relieve some of the pressure leaders feel to always “do something.”

Parting Shot. I got a call the other day from an Associated Press reporter from the east who wanted to talk about Utah. He said he had the sense that while Utah is a conservative state, we embrace a different brand of conservatism, perhaps a gentler and more collaborative conservatism than many other states.  We had a long discussion.

So, what do you think? Is Utah different than other states? Is our conservatism less harsh? Are we more collaborative? If you have a thought or insight, send it to me at [email protected].

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].