by A Siegel
Bureaucracy … deep state … these are four-letter words to too many (in large part due to Republican and right-wing propaganda machine attacks on government) even as, writ large, these are hard-working individuals and institutions that seek to serve the public interest. In times of emergency, whether climate-enhanced disaster or a pandemic disease, even some of the worst “drown government in the bathtub” expect those Deep-State Bureaucrats to be working 24/7 and to get everything right. Now, there is no individual and no institution that gets everything right. Amid coronavirus, even extremely competent and well-meaning (putting aside the mendacious and incompetent for the moment) are getting things wrong. Recognizing that there are and will be mistakes happening, we should be taking the time to recognize, applaud, and seek expansion into other communities of good actions to help people and function better as we (almost) all struggle to figure out how to deal with social distancing to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus.
Thus, here are two examples (even as there are many across the Commonwealth … please feel free to share others in comments) from Henrico County Public Schools.
Internet access is, well, expensive. It is a simply fact that this creates educational disparities in ‘normal times’. What about when schools are shut and education has gone online? HCPS is addressing this by offering free WiFi hotspots to students who had previously stated they did not have internet access at home.
Mobile hubs at four HCPS high schools — Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Hermitage and Highland Springs — will distribute Wi-Fi hot-spot devices and repair division-issued laptops. March 18-20 and March 23-27
from 8:30-10:30 a.m.⁰ and 2-4 p.m.:https://t.co/FsQcfCavpw pic.twitter.com/lC2o2QsA7D
— Henrico Schools (@HenricoSchools) March 17, 2020
giving wi-fi hot spots to students who have previously told the district they don’t have reliable internet at home.
[The four] location[s] will [each] allow up to 400 students and staff members to borrow a device
HAPPENING TODAY: @HenricoSchools will be giving wi-fi hot spots to students who have previously told the district they don’t have reliable internet at home.https://t.co/BvAGV10vzP pic.twitter.com/3l05QuBBBg
— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) March 18, 2020
Like many (most? all?) Virginia (and around country) school systems, HCPS recognized nutritional challenges for students amid school closures. There are six “grab and go” distribution locations for breakfasts and lunches to (help) fill the nutritional gap amid the novel Coronavirus school closures.
a special shout out to Dana, the amazing Nutrition Team, and volunteers! we are doing something we’ve never had to do. Let’s keep going Henrico. ❤️ #HCPSproud #engagementmatters https://t.co/NAE5y9ot5D
— Adrienne Cole Johnson (@acolejohnson) March 18, 2020
Thank you to everyone helping to feed families in Henrico! Here's a look at Tuesday's "Grab and Go" meal distribution. 1,529 breakfasts and lunches were given out! All six sites are open again Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. until Noon. Details: https://t.co/hfKC825jag pic.twitter.com/ZZ9DLmZrRm
— Henrico Schools (@HenricoSchools) March 18, 2020
Not just HCPS
To reemphasize, it isn’t just the HCPS team (administrators, staff, teachers, volunteers) that merits appreciation and recognition for making clear amid the Coronavirus emergency how important government is and how “Deep State” (of all types) seeks to take steps in the public interest and improve all our lives.
Thus, a tip of the hat to Virginia’s governments and public servants working to reduce the costs and impacts of the coronavirus pandemics on the Commonwealth’s communities, businesses, and people.