That’s How Schools Become Covid Super-Spreaders

Schools are  Covid super-spreaders and this a truth which could be universally acknowledged if there were not so many attempts to deny it. Why? Because schools cannot stay closed for long, no matter how fast the virus spreads. On this purpose, we are given the most extraordinary procedures on a daily basis, which, however, underestimate one question: those who are in charge to think and plan believe that students observe rules in the same way North Korean parliament does, when Kim Jong-un attends sessions,

while they should likely reason more on the Italian parliamentarian model of behaviour to get something right.

For example, making the use of  masks mandatory for students is a good thing, but it would be really effective only if they kept them stuck on their mouths. This means that those teenagers should never move from their seats and pull their masks down to make themselves heard by the nearest mate sitting 50 cm far as soon as you turn your back or nibble food when unseen. Only in this case this measure has a chance to work. The perfect scenario school advisers have in their mind cannot happen, because it is not in the youngsters’ nature to be diligent statues and I am not Kim Jong-un. Those thinkers don’t have a clue of what happens in a school and how difficult it is to deal not only with adolescents, but  also with  their families, who are overwhelmed by a great deal of issues these days.

Let’s take one of those families as example to make myself clear. It is seven o’clock of a December morning and the silence of Mario’s home is broken by an: ” aaaachooooooo!!” It’s Mario. Mario’s mother hurries to see her boy and realizes that he has a cold. Yet, he does not look unwell, but she does not dare to take his temperature: if Mario were 37,5 , he should remain at home as school procedures recommend. She has the entire day scheduled. Her husband has already left for work. What can she do?  She decides to read the horoscope: “After 3 years Saturn is aligned with Jupiter again”. “Uhmmmmm, it must be a good thing”: she thinks. Mario is sent to school.

It 9:30 a.m. and Mario sits right in the centre of a classroom with about 30 kids and myself. The boy looks sick and pale and has a pile of tissues on his desk. He must have a cold, but I realize he is not the only one. I feel surrounded by the invisible enemy, which must house in at least one those visible kids, I am sure. Then, my attention is caught by Mario again. To my horror, I see the boy take off his mask and” aaaaaaaaaaccccchhoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!”

Mrs Tink 😱😱: Mariooooooooo, what the heck are you doing? Why did you take your mask off while you were sneezing? Why do you think are masks for? You didn’t even put your hand before your mouth! Are you nuts?

Mario 🤧: I didn’t want to spoil the mask, I have only this one with me.

Mrs Tink 😠: but we have thousands of masks, you can get as many as you need .

Mario😥: But Teach ! I don’t like them, they look like underpants and are smelly! Couldn’t I have one of yours? Yours look different .

MrsTink🙄 (lying): Ehm, this is the only one I have got. Mario, you look feverish🤒, go and have your temperature measured.

I call a janitor who takes Mario to the Covid room. The janitor comes back:

Janitor : Mrs Tink, Mario has a temperature of 38,2, but he swears he is absolutely fine and wants to come back.

Mrs Tink🤯: Good heavens, lock him in! Get someone to call his mother, so she can take him home.

Mario’ s mother comes to get her son. She is quite annoyed. Parents are always annoyed when they are called in, as if we were not taking care of their children’s health, but acting out of spite. The kid was fine the morning she says 🤥. The following day Mario is not at school, and we are informed he is Covid test positive.

Last year in such a case remote lessons would have been organized, but this year things have changed. For worse. If there is one case in a class the entire group is to be tested as soon as possible and then again after 5 days, but they are still admitted to attend lessons in presence. Only if there are 3 cases in the same class the lessons will be from remote. In the meanwhile panic is generated, some parents prefer not to send their children to school to skip Covid tests and the risk of being quarantined too. You have also to take into consideration that these days, after the new Covid surge, being tested, means a queue of hours and hours here. 

Christmas queue in Rome

Thank God, Christmas has arrived  to give us a break or this is what I thought. On Christmas night, exactly at 0:05, an email has informed me that Piero, who was seated next to Mario, has been tested positive. I will be sent the procedure to follow soon, as the very last day of school I was heroically with them to play “tombola” 🥳( a Christmassy Italian Bingo). What did that song say? No more heroes anymore!!!


16 thoughts on “That’s How Schools Become Covid Super-Spreaders

  1. I must take the humour out of your story rather than the sad facts! 😄 Genius, as always, dear Stefy.🙏❤️ And I have to think of a song by Bonnie Tyler: I need a hero! Enjoy your holidays and take care 🙂😉🥰🤗😘

  2. Some of what you describe isn’t restricted to kids or teens . . .

    As an employee of a large company (GM) I witnessed for years adults coming to work sick with the flu because they wanted to save up their sick days. As a business owner, at least I had the option to send people home when they came in sick (again, to save their sick days to be used as either vacation or extra pay).

    As an observer of human behavior, I constantly see masks worn below noses or on chins. Just this weekend, traveling, we checked in to a motel for the night and the clerk pulled down their mask to rub/wipe their nose with their bare hands (twice!) before continuing to check us in, handling my credit card, driver’s license, and the room keys (yes, we kept those separate until we could disinfect them) Yes, we’re vaccinated (and have the booster), but we were heading to visit my 88-year-old mother who, although vaccinated, is more vulnerable than we are.

    I’ve been in supermarkets with people at the checkout obviously sick, and even in doctor’s offices.

    Honestly, I’ve no idea what the answer is because there’s always have a spectrum of human behavior ranging from the North Korean to the Italian parliaments.

    In the past, we’ve muddled through, got sick, got mad at idiots, bemoaned the lack of consideration . . . now, everything is amped up; currently, 1,400 COVID deaths a day (people, with names, families, friends), and still I see protests that wearing a mask infringes on some sort of sacred freedom and that getting vaccinated will bring down our democracy (such as it is).

    . . . where’s a giant meteorite when you need one? I kid, of course, but it all seems a lost cause, and the rear orifices who incessantly clamor for the complete breakdown of the system (in the name of preserving it!) will likely get their wish.

    Good luck with your “procedure” … FYI, we just heard that a teacher we knew in Hawaii, decided to quit (losing her pension) because of the stress and frustration.

    • It should have given a very simple message worldwide: vaccine help, but you are still required to wear your mask correctly , wash your hands, keep the distance, bla, bla. Here the message was: get vaccinated and you can do everything. Only 6 weeks ago the Minister of Education claimed that if teachers were all vaccinated, masks would not have been used any longer. 😳😳When he spoke those words the rate of vaccinated among teachers was 98%. There is an anti-democratic turn here in Italy, control of information etc. that worries me, Emilio.

    • It’s the same everywhere, kind of.

      Here, it’s control of misinformation, and democracy is well on its way out the door given that half the country believes the other half should have no say-so and that winning an election by a slim margin is equivalent to a mandate.

      And, we should remember elected and appointed officials — and “influencers” — have only one incentive . . . to keep their cushy and lucrative jobs with little to no responsibility and no requirement beyond appeasing the loudest (and often irrational) voices even — as it’s happening here — it means giving their followers advice that puts them in danger of dying.

      I’m watching a show on Wondrium about the Black Death, and it’s like reading a script for what’s happening now; the same script was used during the Spanish flu in the last century.

      The sad thing is that we now have the tools to fight it (vaccines and knowledge) but it has been sold to many as “inconvenient” and sometimes unpatriotic to actually use those tools.

      I want to stay sympathetic and not resort to elitism, but it’s difficult hearing some people and holding back thoughts like “there goes a waste of flesh” and “OMFSM! So that’s what the personification of stupidity looks like!”

      … of course, they think the same of me, so there’s that.

  3. This is all so sadly true! I love the people who come up to your face wearing a mask with their noses hanging out. If these were the ones who failed high school biology, there must have been LOTS of people failing high school biology! They remind me of the woman who cuts my hair. She told me she is confident she won’t get covid because she constantly sanitizes her hands. I said, “That’s good but covid is mostly spread through the air”
    Se responded, “How do you know it’s spread through the air?”
    I was sorta dumbfounded, but said, “Well, that’s why we are wearing masks.”
    She didn’t believe me, as she breathed through her nose, uncovered by her mask.

    • Oh, Cindy! It seems a joke , but it is the truth everywhere. Same picture here. The point is that people are not informed and don’t want to be informed. It will take years to put an end to this nightmare.

  4. You gave me today’s laughing out loud time with the Kim Jong-Un and parliament comparisons! But seriously, the situation with you seems as bonkers as the one here in England. I wish you continuing health and continuing sanity for 2022.

  5. I work with primary school and also two infant schools.

    The children in the infant schools aren’t required to wear masks.

    Little Sara (4years old) had a runny nose and was sneezing, she was obviously sick and should have been at home.
    But as you pointed out, her mum was probably busy and so she sent little Sara to school to sneeze on her classmates and teachers.

    The following week there were only a handful of kids in each class due to a Covid outbreak, They closed the school a week later!

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