Published in the Orlando Sentinel | April 26, 2020
Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder, FundEducationNow.org
When and how do you think Central Florida SHOULD reopen in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic?
TESTS SHOULD DECIDE: COVID-19 is the ultimate decider. Even if politicians and chamber types force a “reopening” all will be rendered moot by a resurgence of the virus. The state spends millions on K-12 high stakes tests, “so we know where the students are.” Why isn’t that same belief in data-driven proof used in fighting COVID-19? If we don’t understand the universe of those infected, we are ignorant. Are we facing a death rate of 2% of Florida’s 22 million citizens or 2% of a far smaller number? Before we re-open, every effort should be made to acquire, and mass administer tests. Anything short of this is folly.
As restrictions are lifted, what do you plan to do first?
LISTEN TO EXPERTS: As restrictions lift, I will not be rushing to attend a packed public event. That would be like the guy in the horror film who feels it’s OK to keep going down the dark stairs. First, I will listen carefully to medical experts and epidemiologists, not the political conversation that repeatedly implies that “opening up the state” means some of us are expendable. If we can’t test our population for COVID-19, if there’s no proven medical protocol or vaccine, opening up our economy, which is based on the mass gathering of people, is merely aspirational.