David Dunn-Rankin

I have this “friend” with a wacky idea. I am interested in what you all think of his proposal.

He says everyone is ready to be over the coronavirus as long as they don’t get someone with a weakened immune system sick. There are lots of empty hotel rooms in central Florida. Why not create a money-making idea that combines the desire to be over the virus with the glut of empty hotel rooms?

He called it Summer Camp. Come stay at the hotel for four weeks. He’ll guarantee you’ll get sick with the coronavirus or your money back. At the end of four weeks, take the test again. When it comes back that you are no longer contagious, you can go home.

Of course, I told my “friend” his idea was crazy. He said, yeah, he knew – it would cost too much. The price would have to be $10,000 a person, and even people who can’t wait to be over the coronavirus wouldn’t pay that much.

He said instead he would have Day Camp. For only $999, he would send a bus to your house each day and pick you up around 8:30 a.m. Bring you to the hotel ballroom. The bus would take you home each day around 4:30 in the afternoon for the 30 days of Day Camp.

To keep you occupied during the day, you could take classes for music. You could take computer classes. Day Camp might be your chance to finally learn how to use the smartphone apps your grandchildren already use. He would offer a variety of physical exercise classes.

You could take classes in history or science. Perhaps there would even be reading clubs focusing on great novels with expert-led discussion groups.

There would be a great buffet spread for lunch. There would surely be medical staff on hand to make sure folks’ medical needs are properly met.

I told my friend that under no circumstances was this a good idea. Putting people together in a ballroom for four weeks was a bad idea despite the medical professionals on staff. Even worse was the idea of sending them home every day. This 30-day Day Camp would get attendees’ families at home sick too. Plus, the people those families work with would likely also fall ill to the coronavirus.

I suggested that if he went forward with the idea, he would probably get locked up and thrown in jail.

“Really?” he said. Because with a few slight modifications to the Day Camp scenario, isn’t this our plan to open public schools in a few weeks?”

I’m in favor of opening schools after a moderate delay. But are we prepared to accept the potential consequences when we do open?

We are in a lose-lose situation. If we open, we create day camp for the coronavirus to spread. If we don’t open, private school kids and upper-income family kids will not miss a beat. Many children from less fortunate families will suffer long-term social and educational consequences from missing more in-person school days.

Perhaps, we can have a civil discussion this time about difficult choices we must make because of coronavirus, recognizing it will only be with hindsight that we know whether we made the correct decision about our schools reopening.

Share your thoughts.