A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Science

It seemed reasonable, months ago, to wait until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to assess how well the Whitewater Unified School District managed the pandemic. It doesn’t seem so reasonable now, for reasons of culture as much as public health.

Generally – and sensibly – one has reason to be skeptical of lay analyses of epidemiology. It’s not enough to review data (often incomplete); one requires a professional understanding of the concepts underlying those data. There have been no such independent analyses at FREE WHITEWATER. I’m not an epidemiologist, and the pandemic hasn’t made me one. An assessment here of the district’s performance would always be a lay assessment of general  outcomes. See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021 — COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.

There is, however, an equal impediment to assessing – today – the district’s pandemic performance: is it not obvious that many of the heated public comments over these last eighteen months have been culturally motivated? If culturally motivated over these last eighteen months, then why not for many months more? If cultural complaints began over masks or face-to-face instruction, will they outgrow their immediate cause and become complaints about instruction, discipline, etc.? See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Majoritarianism.

Simply put: is controversy in this district over the pandemic one part of a larger story about ideological and cultural controversies?

Apart from public health questions about the threat (if any) from coronavirus variants, etc., it now seems too soon to close the book on what this pandemic has wrought and how officials have responded. A fire’s not truly out until the embers are cold.

A history of this time isn’t yet ready, as this time may not be over.

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