This school year has been like no other. I never expected my senior year at UNC to unfold the way it did — first on campus, and now remotely at my apartment off campus. My experience is one shared by all Chapel Hill students, and when I heard that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were going to travel to North Carolina, I wanted to know how they would address the parents, students and educators dealing with the pandemic as a new school year begins. Their visits were devoid of any such guidance.
I knew not to expect much when I saw photos of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows maskless and shaking hands with World War II veterans before the president’s speech at the U.S.S. North Carolina. The president himself, in the entirety of his remarks, not once mentioned the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Sure, this was an event to declare Wilmington a World War II Heritage City, but the president is not known for staying on topic — and, as he spoke yesterday, he did make sure to mention the tearing down of Confederate statues.
Right now across North Carolina, parents, teachers and students are struggling to navigate the start of the new school year. With children stationed at dining room tables, parents have to juggle their jobs, their kids and the stress of keeping their households together. While Trump and Pence have kept their heads in the sand throughout this global pandemic, Dr. Jill Biden visited Greensboro Wednesday (virtually) to discuss the Biden plan for getting us back to school safely.
Dr. Biden knows what kind of leadership America needs if we want to return to a normal school year — her husband Joe Biden has a plan for that. Listening to her talk with teachers and parents yesterday, it was obvious she understands exactly what our teachers and parents are going through. After all, she has spent more than 30 years in the classroom.
Contrast Dr. Biden’s roundtable to Pence’s visit to Raleigh for a pro-life event and a “Cops for Trump” rally at a time when more than 186,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, and waves of protests continue around the country in response to ongoing racial injustice.