Published Jul 22, 2020Having shared some true stories from his life on Instagram earlier this year, Dave Grohl has more recently branched out into the world of op-ed. After having a love letter to live music published in May, he has now turned his attention to the potential reopening of schools this fall in spite of the pandemic.
Writing in The Atlantic, the Foo Fighters leader praises educators and school workers while drawing on his own experience being raised by mother Virginia Hanlon Grohl, who was a public school teacher.
"As a single mother of two, she tirelessly devoted her life to the service of others, both at home and at work," Grohl writes. "She helped generations of children learn how to learn, and, like most other teachers, exhibited a selfless concern for others. Though I was never her student, she will forever be my favorite teacher."
Grohl and his mother then look to America's plan (or lack thereof) to safely get students and staff back into schools this fall:
When it comes to the daunting — and ever more politicized — question of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, the worry for our children's well-being is paramount. Yet teachers are also confronted with a whole new set of dilemmas that most people would not consider. "There's so much more to be addressed than just opening the doors and sending them back home," my mother tells me over the phone. Now 82 and retired, she runs down a list of concerns based on her 35 years of experience: "masks and distancing, temperature checks, crowded busing, crowded hallways, sports, air-conditioning systems, lunchrooms, public restrooms, janitorial staff." Most schools already struggle from a lack of resources; how could they possibly afford the mountain of safety measures that will need to be in place? And although the average age of a schoolteacher in the United States is in the early 40s, putting them in a lower-risk group, many career teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, nurses, and janitors are older and at higher risk.
Grohl acknowledges that remote learning is "an inconvenient and hopefully temporary solution. But as much as Donald Trump's conductor-less orchestra would love to see the country prematurely open schools in the name of rosy optics...it would be foolish to do so at the expense of our children, teachers, and schools...Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are. For without them, where would we be?"
You can read Grohl's complete piece here, and can find an audio version below. He and his Foo Fighters bandmates are currently slated to hit the road on their "Van tour" this October.