I hear you as a teacher and a school leader. The choice being presented is a false choice and none of this needed to be the way it is. I appreciate your clarity, empathy, and concern.
I am the head of a PK - 12 school. We are planning on reopening brick and mortar schooling. BUT---we are in Spain. There is a world of difference. We have planned for; extra cleaners and cleaning during the day and after the day, smaller classes, physical distancing, masks, different flow of movement on campus, limiting who can be on campus, limiting movement of elementary students, hand-sanitizing stations, and more.
Even so, I think of a normal fall/winter and a normal flu season with up to 25% of students getting sick and elementary staff looking like zombies. Will all we do be enough. I don't sleep well these days. I read too much news. But at least I have a national leadership that is, for the most part, cohesive, and take charge. People here have taken social distancing and masks seriously, there is wonderful health care available to all. Even so, I worry.
I look across to the US and cannot imagine what schools, teachers, families are dealing with. On every possible level this is a complete and utter failure of leadership at a national level. Locally and individually there are heroic measures and efforts.
The need for education is clear and compelling. The willingness to put significant money and resources to make whatever form it needs to take happen have not happened historically or currently. The willingness to provide for the common good has been cast as un-American, as demotivating, as --- you name it. The truth is tragic, callous, cynical and at times downright evil.
These are times that cry out for leadership and vision. In education, as in health care, as in environment, as in so much more, what we get is the interests of the entrenched beneficiaries and a scatter cake crumbs to scrabble for for the rest.