The United States Secretary of Education has been under fire during the COVID-19 pandemic. It showed the inadequacy of supposed preparedness of some countries and the extent of damage in others. Consequently, the first instinct of everyone is now in place – to survive, to stay safe and cope with the seeming new normal. Many countries, including the US, have been demanding much more from their leadership at all levels of responsibility.
Little wonder, when a demand was made by Betsy Devos, the US Secretary of Education on the much-needed support and leadership on educational matters. However, the received response has been a far cry. But recently, the Secretary hardly had a choice when the COVID-19 infection rate kept rising. Before that, accusations were already flying about where the priorities of the education leadership lie.
Some stakeholders opined that the Secretary of Education is more concerned with matters of public schools’ privatization than the needed safety during these trying times. But the case took a turn, especially when she tweeted on Tuesday that the Career Technical Education (CTE) can now donate or loan PPE to hospitals. Not only the PPE but also all other medical supplies to all licensed medial service providers. To this, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan thanked the Secretary as well as Amway, a private company in Michigan.
The fight against COVID-19 is real, and all hands must be on deck in order to successfully manage the pandemic. We all have to learn to take the guidelines severe – it is time for social distancing and wearing of protective masks, including kids face masks, which are set to play a significant role in the reopening of schools. On April 14, the Secretary announced that the unused PPEs can now be distributed nationwide to reduce the possibility of infected Americans further. The added flexibility was in response to the strong desire from both state and local educators about the need for more support.
Earlier, the CTE programs acquired those PPEs and other medical-related supplies with federal funds to enhance learning in the medical field. Some of the items involved include gloves, face shields, gowns, face masks, ventilators and three-dimensional printers.
Other ongoing developments and guidance policies by the Department of Education include elementary and secondary education, higher education, and special education. It also consists of all other essential ingredients of lifelong learning with utmost care for life and the future of the younger generation.
The Department of Education’s basic strategies of preventing the spread of COVID19 every day include the following;
1. No sick person should go to school
2. Do not be in close contact with those who are feeling sick already
3. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or crook of the arm when sneezing or coughing
4. Wash your hands carefully using soap and water frequently
5. Do not touch your eyes, nose or the mouth
Also, the ministry advises that schools should refer to the CDC factsheet concerning social distancing and other precautionary measures. This document is available to help students, families as well as staff to stay safe during the pandemic.