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Tag: Covid19

Make no mistake, this extra week of remote learning is a giant fuck you to educators

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I’m sure many of you were glued to your devices waiting with baited breath for the education press conference this afternoon in Manitoba. I am also sure that many of you, like myself, were expecting the government to announce further restrictions and a temporary move to remote learning as we ride this newest wave of Covid fuckery.

Dear Heather and Cliff had other plans. She sat there with her cunty smirks and him in his bewildered gaze trying to pronounce hard words in his briefing and announced that they would be moving to one week remote learning not because of the enormous spikes in Covid transmissions, rising hospitalizations, and unknown outcomes yet to happen- but to give the educators more time to prepare the schools to make them safe for the return of in person learning.

I’m sorry. I know I am just a lowly peasant and not one of the anointed stakeholders that are spoken of so frequently in these pressers, but what the actual fuck.

Prepare for WHAT, exactly? WITH what, exactly? Another shipment of improperly donned medical grade masks by hundreds of tiny humans, some more barrels of hand sanitizer and an inspection of windows that don’t open and ventilation systems that do nothing but recirculate the same air around the same building until the end of time? Will they hire more lunch monitors to make sure the kids sit in their spots while they eat maskless twice per day and toss their tiny little aerosols of Covid cooties into the air for someone else to enjoy later? Is there a secret shipment of hazmat suits coming in sizes XXS to XXXL that haven’t been announced yet?

And the 550,000 RAT’s that have supposedly finally been allocated to schools instead of to pompous morons who refused to get vaccinated? How long is that going to last 300,000 students? And what are the protocols for their use? How exactly do we expect this to help?

Whoever decided that going to remote learning was going to give teachers and administrators “more time” is either a liar or an imbecile. How in Satan’s sweet hell are school staff supposed to reconfigure classrooms, prepare material for home learning, inventory supplies and PPE, rearrange cohorts etc etc etc with students in the fucking school and the rest of them in online class? When is this magical preparation (of what I am still uncertain) going to happen?

No. This is the government telling teachers to go fuck themselves. Since being elected 5 years ago there has been a war raging between government and teachers and I feel like today’s announcement was like Heather saying “Oh you need time, we’ll give you time” and she loved every fucking minute of it.

Furthermore, we basically have no new information. Are we reopening in Code Orange? Where is all the extra staff going to magically appear from? What is going to be done with staff shortages? How important will education be then, Cliff? Or will it just give people one more opportunity to call teachers lazy and overpaid babysitters? Once again, there are more questions than answers and no details about what exactly is going to be accomplished.

Teachers and schools have been repeatedly neglected and set up to fail since all of this began and here we are again. Politicians self congratulating themselves and jerking each other off on camera while they talk about all this money they have given to schools. What was it for? Is it the 80 million from the federal government from last year that wasn’t “invested” in education as promised that you are now taking credit for? Where is the accounting? Why are you so completely full of shit? People just want straight answers and some accountability. We are frustrated. We don’t trust you.

This “extension” is stupid. Pull the plug and do something actually proactive or don’t and live with the consequences of your decisions. But putting schools in another impossible situation so that everyone can be mad at them is a cowardly deflection of our government’s consistent ineptitude and miserable attitude towards educators.

This is why people are mad at you for not getting vaccinated

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The past two years have felt very, very long. Living in a state of constant uncertainty, trying to manage the unknowns both personally and professionally, and coping with the rollercoaster of rules and restrictions has not been easy for anyone. Most of us have made constant sacrifices to try and protect ourselves and others often at the expense of our own well being or mental health and in some cases our careers or businesses.

And yet, there was hope.

The best, smartest and most dedicated scientists in the world worked tirelessly to try and find either preventatives or treatments for Covid so that we could start to put this whole thing behind us. Using decades old technologies and combining them with new knowledge they were able to develop vaccines that had good efficacy and safety.

And we hoped some more.

In the meantime, a small pocket of people were determined to shatter that hope. They were loud, and abusive, and just plain wrong.

And while this post is not about the science behind the vaccines, I will acknowledge that vaccinating against coronaviruses is a difficult thing in terms of efficacy and long term immunity- I myself believe that vaccines alone won’t fix things. First, because vaccinating against diseases in the upper respiratory tract is problematic, second because coronavirsuses mutate quickly and often, and third because the resulting immune response wanes relatively quickly. I think that research should also continue to focus on therapeutics and “cures”, and understanding long term effects of the disease while ALSO knowing vaccination remains one of the most important tools we have in this fight to get back to a normal life.

Having said all of that, I think those opposed to immunization don’t understand (or don’t care) why those of us in support of it are frustrated, disappointed, or in some cases really angry at them.

It’s frustrating when someone you care about shows a lack of concern for you. Having someone in your life who appears to put their own fears, investment into conspiracy theories or self indulgent Dunning-Kruger behaviours ahead of the care of others is disheartening. Watching someone be willing to increase the risk of others around them is disappointing. Having a loved one willing to put themselves at risk in the name of being *right* makes us sad and worried.

Having to make a choice that you can live with in terms of your risk tolerance for a novel disease with so many unknowns and being accused repeatedly of being divisive is shit. Having uncomfortable conversations with friends or family or clients explaining why you can’t have them in your home not because you are mad but because you aren’t willing to put your children at risk- or them for that matter is SHIT. Being made out to be the bad guy when all you are trying to do is mitigate risk and keep your family from harm is fucking shit.

It’s worrisome to think about losing someone you care about when it is something that you can improve your odds on. We have grieved the loss of so many things these past two years and do not want to watch loved ones get sick, die and suffer. It is avoidable.

Listening to the absolute arrogance of ignorant people who should have stayed int their lane way back at the starting line is fucking irritating. Watching health care professionals be harassed while they care for people who refuse to get vaccinated is an abomination and the stupidest thing ever. Being threatened online by strangers for choosing to get your child vaccinated is horrifying.

Watching our medical system (which albeit was already a mess before) sag and almost collapse as the added strain of unvaccinated Covid patients exploited every weakness it had is scary. Knowing that it will probably be a decade before we catch up with non-Covid related illness and conditions and the weight of treating those who are now sicker and will require more care is daunting. Knowing that Covid maybe could have been “just a cold” for most of those people is hindsight nobody wants to think about.

If you’ve chosen not to get vaccinated not because it was a decision your physician made with you but because you’ve decided you know better-you still deserve love and compassion and care. But if you wanted to understand how your decisions have affected others, not just in terms of their health or access to healthcare now you know. It feels like a betrayal on a lot of levels- in terms of who we thought you were, your character, your willingness to protect the things that need protecting. It feels like the hugest disrespect to all of us who have made every efforts to protect ourselves and YOU.

Back before there was an internet, before the Chris Skys and Maxime Berniers we listened to the experts because they were the experts. We took care of one another. We listened to reason and tried our best.

A big part of me wishes we could go back to that. Everything is so toxic now.

But let’s go back to trying our best, and remembering that just because you are mad at someone you can still love them.

Dear Manitoba, start enforcing restrictions or STFU

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Fuck restrictions.

Honestly. Closing retail spaces and restaurants and gyms again isn’t going to do anything further unless a few other things happen.

  1. Close the borders for real. Redefine what essential is and make sure that you monitor it. Yes, the variants are already here but adding new sources of infection is just plain dumb.
  2. Go to remote learning, at least for high school. Stop allowing team sports to practice. This is one of the fastest growing age groups spreading infection, and the data showing limited spread in schools no longer applies as variants are changing the game.
  3. Vaccinate everyone who works in a manufacturing or factory setting. These people are essential to supply chains and work in small, poorly ventilated environments and have a high proportion of new Canadians or folks living in multi-generational homes. This immediately makes close contact numbers high, exposes those more vulnerable, and continues to put at risk those that have no other alternatives for income, no sick benefits and do not have the option of working from home.
  4. Mandate anyone who is able to work from home to WORK.FROM.HOME.
  5. Vaccinate teachers.
  6. Vaccinate bus drivers and taxi drivers.

And here’s the big one:

It really does not matter one bit what restrictions you impose if people refuse to follow the rules. Increasing the restriction levels does nothing but further punish those who are already doing their best: wearing masks, limiting contacts, only seeing people outside their household outdoors, limiting non-essential activities. The people who aren’t doing this and are organizing anti-mask rallies, or spreading mis-information online, having personal gatherings, and basically anything else to effectively thumb their fucking noses at public health officers will continue to do so no matter what rule you make.

They are LAUGHING at you.

To be honest, we all are. You sound like a bunch of idiots. Nobody trusts that you know what you are doing or are prepared to actually back up these rules.

Until this government gets out there and actually enforces the rules they are making, not one of these anti mask “BUTMYRIGHTS” wads from a rancid dickhole is going to give a shit.

As we speak, there is an anti mask rally happening at the Forks. No cops, no bylaw officers in sight. Not one ticket being handed out, not one arrest being made. THEY.ARE.LAUGHING.AT.YOU.

If the Manitoba government wants people to take their Covid actions seriously, they need to get serious about them. Ticket every fucker who breaks the rules. They don’t pay the ticket? They can sit in jail until the 14 day quarantine period is over.

And I don’t want to hear anymore about how they are worried about people lying to contract tracers for fear of being fined. They are lying ANYWAY. If you had your shit together, you could easily investigate this.

Get your shit together, Manitoba. Or we are about to be Ontario, Part Deux.

Are People Shitty, Or Just Afraid? Does It Even Matter?

man doing dab position near beach

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I’ve been sitting here for several days, between trying to get work accomplished, continuing to educate my beautiful students, and being the parent that my children need.  Notice that I didn’t say “homeschool” my children, because I am not.  I do plenty of activities with them, play music and read and try to continue to enrich their lives as if we are just on an extended school break.  They are young, they will come out of this with fond memories of a time we slowed down enough to focus on each other, at least I hope so.

In between all of that, I have been purposefully changing my social media presence to simply include a brief account of what our lives are looking like during this piece of historical significance. I have also started purposefully avoiding getting into any more conversations about this pandemic, or the measures being taken, or the possible cures or anything politically related.

If there is one thing I enjoy under normal circumstances, it is a good debate or impassioned conversation with opposing viewpoints or opinions where two people can look at an issue from two very different sides and learn from one another and grow as humans.  I think that difficult conversations are important to be able to understand that there is not one thing in this world that is entirely black or white, and that almost always we all deserve a seat at the table.

These are not normal circumstances.  And I am no longer enjoying the debate.  In fact, at best some of these conversations are making me really sad, and at worst I am absolutely horrified and disappointed in some of the people that I know and love dearly and the things they are either saying or virtually applauding.

Look, I get it. This whole situation blows. Try being a fucking musician in times like these and see how worried you are about your employment prospects for the near future.  Other industries are on hold right now.  Everyone is anxious and exhausted and 100% not in control and that produces a fear response that a lot of times makes people do and say hurtful things.

For the record, COVID 19 is a super shit thing that the entire world is having to go through headfirst, blind, and pretty much with flailing arms.  We don’t have a radar screen to navigate by here, so most reasonable leaders are trying to use lessons from history to determine how best to sail through this storm.   It’s going to be messy, and imperfect, and expensive.  There will be much economic fall out from this and we are all going to have sacrifices to make.  

Ironically, people who have less are the ones who seem to be the most understanding of this.  The ones who have the most are so used to getting their own way and having access to all of their entitlements that they can’t fathom sacrificing one thing from their hoard of capitalistic treasures in order to create widespread benefit for the health and welfare of everyone else.  And really, this is what this pandemic is showing me.  That many of us are so selfish and tied to material things that we are willing to “sacrifice one old granny” rather than sit tight and ride out this storm with grace.

I’ve read the conspiracy theories and they are annoying, not fact based, and scientifically inaccurate.  People want to push through experimental treatments with total disregard for human safety.  They think it’s fine to just let hundreds of thousands of people die and allow millions suffer because it’s “less than 1% of the population” so far. They keep talking  about how the numbers are so low and we are all fools hell bent on their economic ruin.  Talking about how our children will have to pay the price for this.

I don’t know for sure, but I feel quite strongly that these are merely excuses because they are tired of being inconvenienced. They are worried about their current lifestyles being permanently affected. And in response to that fear,  some people have a put a price tag on the lives of the vulnerable and the elderly and poor. There is a line drawn in the sand about what has value and what does not, and there are so many people that I thought I knew who are on the wrong side of that line.

COVID 19 is not a socialist plot to fuck you over.  The financial aid being given out is not an irresponsible and frivolous act that will be the downfall of the country or world.  It is a much needed rainfall in an out of control blaze of fuckery and flame.

By the way, in 1918, communities that completely shut down in response to the pandemic social distancing recommendations had better economic outcomes and faster, steeper recoveries than the communities who ignored them.

I could go on and on in order to rebuke every ignorant and cruel comment I have seen lately but am I exhausted by the seemingly never ending dialogue of selfish, misinformed people who are slaves too busy worshiping their green paper gods to have any sense of what is right and good.  I am sure I will have to continue to bite my tongue and ignore this continued dickery once I post this article as I get bombarded with more hate messages and hurtful comments.

When this lockdown first started, I had a lot of hope.  Not hope that it would be quickly resolved, but hope that we would all be able to value this “Grand Pause” in our lives and see the meaningful things we are blessed with and for the first time in a long time, really appreciate them.  I thought that parents would see this as an opportunity to reconnect with their kids, and families to actually eat dinner together again and realize that the hamster wheel we’ve all been on for so long maybe was spinning beyond our control. I hoped that we would once again start to be able to distinguish the difference between want and need and realize that simpler lives may, well, simplify our existence.  Love, connection, health, peace….I thought those things might re-emerge.

And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of beautiful people out there doing beautiful things,  among them the artists and young people and communities working together to support one another and brighten our days and reach out to help where needed.

But for many others…..there is an ugliness that is probably being inspired by fear and lack of control that is making them search for someone to be angry at, or an enemy to fight, or some other reason why none of this can be really happening. And I just don’t personally know what to do about that.  Probably nothing but just feel sad about it.

Anyway, Bitches, Stay well, stay safe.  Hold the fucking line.  See you all on the other side.

 

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