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An Educator Looks at COVID through the Rearview Mirror and the Windshield

January 11, 2022 8:49 AM | Kenneth Poppe (Administrator)

(To read entire post, click on three dots to the left.). Microbiology was only a side expertise in my bachelor's degree program, but going into April of 2020, I could already see the coming medical whirlwind pushed by politicians and medical bureaucrats.  With the aid of the media, they were going to radically change the rules on how to deal with the rapidly moving infection curve common to other 21st Century viruses, which we typically endure, recover from, and then move on.  (Think SARS, Swine Flu, H1N1, West Nile, Zika, the regular “flu season,” etc.)  Remember those earliest days of the COVID pandemic?  I surely do.  When my wife and I heard our city was going into lockdown at midnight on 04/05/2020, we thought of escaping to the country in our RV, but we heard the state patrol was closing highway borders.  Then came the months of quarantined huddling in our houses, the emptying of food shelves, the stockpiling of toilet paper, and the closing of "unnecessary" buildings (e.g., churches) while only the "absolute" essentials remained open (e.g., liquor stores).  Meanwhile, schools basically shut their doors for the remaining spring of 2020, and only the most dedicated teachers and students gave any real effort toward the spotty futile attempts at remote instruction.

When school resumed in the fall 2020, it was the panacea of proper N95 mask wearing and maintaining the “6-foot social distancing rule” ... or else!   The plexiglass industry boomed, as if a floating viral particle could not get around a single-plane barrier between desks and chairs.  Also, those silly face shields with (double?) masking supposedly offered “complete” protection - if others would just completely cover their faces as well.  And for teachers who had not quit?  Starting in August 2020, they spent the year writing TWO sets of daily lesson plans ... one for those in-building students to whom a muffled-speaking teacher words could not be understood, and another for those at-home students whose parents bought into the growing fear sweeping the nation.  (Imagine trying to teach dynamic lessons - especially for courses such as PE, music, and art - via a laptop.  Ridiculous.) Under the Trump administration, the “call through fall” was for personal compliance to reasonable hygiene procedures, as a vaccine was on the horizon for 2021.  Meanwhile, as the 2020 presidential election and 2021 inauguration came and went, the Democrat party kept calling for the most severe personal restrictions. 

I was there in the public schools for all of 2020-2021, folks. I would characterize the year as a gargantuan administrator and teacher effort that produced minuscule learning, and the worst situation I have ever seen for student academic and social growth.  One reason is the teacher unions jumped with both feet into what had become the mass COVID hysteria of maximum separation.  That’s even though healthy adult teachers are far more in danger of dying on their drive to school than from the virus, and abnormal sicknesses and deaths among school age children are ... I won’t even say virtually nil, but in fact nonexistent.

The vaccinations started to become available in early 2021, just as the Democrat party took power, and soon the talk of national mandates became daily language.  Since then, the mainstream news outlets constantly run stories that promote the call for vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, followed by booster, booster, booster, and the firestorm never seems to die down as the Delta and Omicron strains add new fuel to the blaze.  However, what you never hear are stories that mention the increasing body of evidence on side effects and adverse reactions to “the jab,” or that vaccinated people still spread the virus and develop infections, or that Big Pharma and government health agencies downplay many common inexpensive drugs proven to be very effective treatments, or that natural immunity afforded by one’s DNA or gained by exposure (thank you Omicronis superior to any vaccine immunity.  All throughout 2021 the US bureaucracy kept trying to convince the public that COVID was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet at the dawn of 2022, more people were realizing this narrative was patently false.  (I am especially offended that, as late as December 2021, the CDC was still running constant TV ads that urgently encourage parents to get their school children vaccinated.)  

And how did 2021 end?  I will be straight here.  In 2020, President Biden campaigned on how, unlike his predecessor, he would lead a government that would stop the pandemic dead in its tracks.  Now after all the threats, reversals, criticisms of non-compliant state governors, and "goalpost moving,” he publicly said on 12/27/2021 that “There is no federal solution” ... listen here.  https://youtu.be/_veYmrxAjn8.  (And if you read Amazon’s currently #1 ranked book The Real Anthony Fauci by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., you may also conclude our highest paid “public servant” may face well-deserved prosecution someday for crimes against humanity.)

In the professional rearview mirror?  Having taught most high school science courses for decades, my knowledge about virology kept me from buying into the hysteria from the start.  Having also taught advanced high school math, it is not hard to spot the manipulation of statistics.  For example, when cases of the common flu during 2020-21 disappeared from the radar of clinics and hospitals ... who receive federal funds for every reported COVID diagnosis ... it is not hard to connect the dots.  In other walks of life, I also have seen in the rearview mirror: 1) Members of Congress exempt themselves and their families from vaccine mandates, 2) Drug companies exempt themselves from lawsuits for products having no long term testing, 3) The administration threaten vaccination mandates for citizens while unvaxed masses of illegals are allowed to pour across the border. 4) Half a million maskless motorcyclers spend ten days in very close proximity, resulting in no so called “super-spreader events” after returning home. 5) The NBA (with close economic ties to China) go heavily into “bubble quarantine” and masks on the bench, while unmasked players breathe on, spit on, sweat on, and bleed on the same basketball they all grab. 6 A respected future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback who was totally asymptomatic being forced by the league to sit out a game - after trying every way he could to maintain his right to choose while not disappointing his teammates and fans.  (He was later interviewed from a "safe" six-foot distance by a female reporter ... who immediately bear-hugged him afterwards.). 7) Football stadiums at all levels being filled with thousands of unmasked fans shoulder to shoulder shouting down at unmasked players, while coaches sometimes make a pretense of wearing masks on the sidelines.  8) Americans being encouraged to cancel or greatly curtail holiday celebrations like July 4th and Thanksgiving, and told to limit attendance at birthday parties and even funerals.  Meanwhile packed crowds of unmasked rioters roam major cities destroying property, and aren’t even prevented from setting fires to cars, churches, police department headquarters, and federal buildings.  9) Large presidential birthday parties and gala Hollywood events being held where all are maskless except for the peons waiting on the elite. 10)  As of late, how masks now much more represent political identity than a need for protection.  (The ultimate in N95 masks still allows 5% of particles to get through, and now the sheep consider you in total compliance if your face diaper only consists of a thin piece of cloth bearing an animal face.). What have your eyes seen?

In the personal rearview mirror?  Working around the excessive restrictions as best I could, my family and I lived our normal life of individual freedom and choice, which I know is antithetical to many politicians.  We shopped, traveled, held family gatherings, and went to church as normally as allowed, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who wore a mask less than I did.  Was I ever sick?  A year ago I had two days of some odd aches that quickly left – corona? – and much later a typical head cold that lasted for a week - but nothing more.  How about my extended family?  We had zero severe COVID illnesses, and our worst "crisis" was to occasionally share news of deaths of other people we heard about.  However, in every case if COVID was suspected, it was someone very advanced in years or someone with severe comorbidities.  So I ask you, how many healthy people that you know well provably died from COVID?  I suspect like me, few to none.  And my life today?  Since the start of the 2021-22 school year it has generally returned to normal here in Texas, despite a few strange practices going on around me - like the guy on a motorcycle wearing a mask.  And just like a teacher friend of mine in Florida, we don't even stuff an "emergency mask" in our pocket anymore when we are out and about.  By comparison, what is your life like ... especially if you live in places like California or New York?

Through the national windshield, what does 2022 look like?  First, expect people to realize that scares such as Omicron (with mild symptoms and a chance for full immunity) has caused as many deaths as the invading “murder hornets” - remember them? Next, expect a massive political change come November.  This hopefully will bring wiser leaders who will put American interests over their own and support our Constitutional rights ... who then will appoint people in pivotal civil and military positions who will be sure the data isn’t skewed or falsified, and who will combat health problems by supporting sensible national measures based on valid science.

How about through the educational windshield?  Most teachers I talk to - especially the dedicated ones truly out for the students - now realize how much they have been hoodwinked.  I find that in districts where the stranglehold of teacher union policies has ruled the least, already teachers have been gravitating back to their face-to-face “best instructional practices,” and this will accelerate as we wise up.  In the teaching ranks, perhaps some of the “deadwood” that have left the profession needed to go, and hopefully a new crop of educators entering the profession will be true to the calling. This will require some major overhauling in typical leftist collegiate teacher certification programs (check out www.snu.edu).  It will also require some “teacher union busting,” and a rise in membership in professional teacher organizations (check out www.ittexas.org.)  Will such changes take place?  I'm going to be optimistic.  I think that is why windshields are so much bigger than rearview mirrors.  We need to concentrate much more on where we are going than where we have been.

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