Letters, Jan. 19-21: Vail Resorts and PCMR ski patrollers now need to patch things up
Time to repair the relationship
I hope that Vail Resorts and the PCMR ski patrol can have a make-up hug. Ski patrolling was once a function of volunteers with maybe a few paid supervisors. Helping the skiing public was a price gladly paid for love of sport, the free pass, and first crack at the pow, and it was a collaborative win-win for the patrol and the owners. But skip ahead 40 years and the now-corporate resorts still tend to think of the patrol as ski bums in it for the freebies, even though the skills required have mushroomed into vital professions. Unfortunately, it takes unions and strike threats to put the stereotype to bed and wake up the CEOs.
The adversarial relationship that emerges from such a cycle can be a discouraging outcome. I know this from my own profession, teaching, which went through the same thing in the last century. I’ve worked in both union and non-union environments, and while there are a lot of nuances to consider, too much union-management antagonism can reduce a whole profession to a joyless commodity. I hope that result doesn’t happen here.
Reconsider opting against remote learning
This is the letter I sent to Park City School District Superintendent Gildea and school board members:
Your decision to remain in person in the midst of a massive COVID outbreak in our schools is reckless. Your job is to provide a safe learning environment for students as well as a safe working environment for teachers, administrators and staff. You have failed to do this with this decision. Both Erin Grady and Andrew Caplan have cited multiple times throughout the course of the pandemic that if schools go remote, kids will continue to socialize with each other outside of school and thus somehow negate remote learning.
And for some reason Andrew believes every kid out of school is left home unattended and thus not safe. These are not adequate reasons to remain in person during an outbreak. I would like to remind you that what students and families do in their private time, in the hours not in school, is not your concern nor is it in your control. You control the public space, which is school, and you are failing in this basic responsibility.
If there were a fire or a gas leak in the school, the school would be evacuated and kids taken to a safe place and released to parents. You would not say, “Well if we sent them home they would be home alone and continue to see friends anyway, so it’s better to keep them in school since school is the safest place.” No. In the midst of an outbreak school is not the safest place. Please reconsider your decision for the health and safety of the students, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, janitors, lunch room staff, etc.
A short period of remote learning will allow for a break in transmission, a slowing of infection, it will allow already sick students and employees time to recover. It is far better to have a planned remote learning week rather than a sudden forced remote learning week because there aren’t enough teachers or bus drivers. Please reconsider this decision.
Who needs government safeguards?
Hooray for Neil Gorsuch by publicly displaying his contempt for government efforts to safeguard our health. Why stop with not wearing COVID masks, though? There are endless ways to get the economy back on track without much human damage — limited hours for airline pilots? Alternative energy protection? Safety guards on power tools? Pesticides? In fact, how were we ever timid enough to let big government take control of our health and safety rights?
Get off our backs, Washington — we showed the world that a few COVID deaths is a small price to pay for freedom. We know how to take care of ourselves!
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