You may wonder why the title above? This is what happens when internet censorship becomes a reality. Communication between colleagues started to become limited when we would share certain research over the past few months. In response, we learned that random terminology (e.g., watermelon and eggs) produced far better outcomes. As a display of pure brilliance, we found that Pineapples on Mars did not heighten the self-proclaimed internet god’s anxiety as individuals malevolently attempt to stifle communication.
For many years it has been our distinct pleasure to be a part of this incredible community. Personally, we’ve committed our lives to enhancing student and family experience by working tirelessly to represent the local area with dignity, honor, and integrity. We have also committed to rigorous study and knowledge of research methodologies that have allowed for us to navigate and compile the information available below. For those of you who lead others (whether in business, your community, or just being the head of a family unit), you learn very quickly that it can be lonely at the top. There are many sleepless nights and worries that extend well into the day. But during those times we’ve both been blessed with a family and friendships that are strong, and we’ve never felt overburdened by the responsibility of managing our careers, the obligation associated with managing complex situations, and have done so happily serving parents and students.
We both admittingly have made right decisions and wrong decisions; we have never cowered from taking ownership of each decision as that is part of what it takes to be a leader and leading requires tremendous courage (even in the face of incredible scrutiny). Comprehension of situational ethics is a constant balance and recognizing how one decision can result in multiple unintended consequences is complex but real. Knowing this, we realize we are taking extensive risk by putting together this document for all of you to read. We are risking our credibility, our livelihood, and our own family’s needs. Which is why we have reviewed the documentation below and provided sources of the information for you to explore on your own as a family. As individuals who love learning and education, and leaders at educational institutions that indirectly impact thousands of individuals, we want to be clear that we are not your primary care physicians or surgeons. Our job, we believe, may be much more important, as our community has entrusted us to lead and to care for children and students in education. This responsibility requires individuals to constantly think of the health/safety of others.
It is becoming clearer that the past 20 months (March of 2020 we did not return to school from Spring Break) has taken a tremendous toll on not only each of us individually, but also on our families, our state, our nation, and the international community. We are tired of the darkness and tired of letting select individuals and agencies divide us with what seems to be purposefully manipulated information.
Like many of you, we can remember the day we first learned about Covid-19. Phone calls were pouring from colleagues discussing a virus spreading rapidly worldwide, and that school shutdowns were imminent. Soon after, the OKC Thunder stopped their basketball game before tip-off and evacuated the building. This event was real as we know families who were in attendance and will confirm. You can even watch the video here: As a catalyst for isomorphism across the United States, the game cancellation was deemed to be the right call, and soon most events worldwide were postponed.
As was the case for many, our reaction was filled with fear. How would we protect students at school? How could our faculty/staff colleagues manage their jobs and their own family obligations? How could we make payroll and cover utilities/general operating costs on campus? How many people would this virus kill? How will it affect our own families? The questions were unlimited, and compartmentalization was essential as we navigated various obligations. That spring, teachers/faculty/staff all over the state were incredible; they rose to the occasion by producing quick online experiences for students and families who were locked down for “15 days to stop the spread” but these 15 days soon turned into 2 months, and all schools ended the year virtually. We remain disappointed to this day that our students did not get to end their experience celebrating their school traditions.
With May behind us, we immediately began planning for the fall 2020 semester. We started to spend every waking moment reading about the virus, about the impact on communities, about how to best plan to mitigate situations on campuses and in the classroom. In 2020, one of our institutions had a Covid19 plan that was so comprehensive, strategic, and unrivaled, that the National Association of School Principals invited our school administrator to be one of four schools nationwide represented in Washington, DC. We did an incredible job representing our community with our plan. We brought in modular units, purchased outdoor army tents for classrooms, and even began remodeling storage buildings on campus for additional space. Our school cleaning protocols, our HVAC systems, and our plan in general was incredible and unprecedented. We had many individuals who doubted the decisions and families un-enrolled as they wanted virtual learning, but we knew that having students on campus was not only possible, but it was possible to do so in a safe manner. During the 2020-2021 academic year we started and remained in-person during the entire school. We had very few COVID-19 cases throughout the school year, and the only week-long quarantine period for a class coincided with our February winter storm that impacted the entire Midwest (a whole other issue) this past year.
On May 28th, 2021, both of our institutions ended their Covid-19 plans and transitioned to summer programming with no mask requirements, no testing requirements, and no extra mitigation strategies. But at the end of July, when we were gearing up for school again, a surge of the “Delta” variant resulted in our email inbox and outbox operating like a federal reserve currency printer during this worldwide event.
As researchers, truth is of paramount importance. Our sincere hope is that nothing we’ve documented below or cited is taken personally. We are simply concerned about our entire community, our state, our nation, and all of humanity. About how we are being programmed to adopt measures that are the antithesis of freedom and liberty, and about how this issue has divided us. The truth is many of us only search for what we want to find, and we are aware that the same argument could be made about our research after perusing the literature. We acknowledge and accept that it is difficult to remove all bias. We genuinely hope though, that the information piques your interests and results in us asking our leaders tough questions about what is going on with this pandemic. Our sincerest hope is that you take the time to think logically about the linear progression of this worldwide event, the multiple layers of socio-cultural events, and how our “trusted” institutions have acted. Our sincere hope is that you will stand in solidarity with your neighbors regardless of whether they wear a mask or not, regardless of if they are vaccinated or not, so that our children can grow together, so they can have families and attend athletics events. Our biggest strength is our unity—and that unity also applies to the state of Oklahoma and our larger nation. The USA is the leader of the free world. We the people are to support each other, and much like we represent our small hometown schools and academic institutions, we should represent our country with pride.
As individuals it is important that we always think forward. This mindset should expand beyond politics, religion, class, etc. The battle we are fighting is about humanity standing up against malevolent individuals, companies, and government institutions who are moving towards inoculating our children against a respiratory virus that has a large survivability rate and effective, available, and inexpensive prophylaxis and out-patient treatments. The virus is here to stay at endemic levels whether safe and effective vaccines become available. That’s the nature of respiratory viruses; they circulate all year long waiting for immune systems to become sick during the winter or “deranged” from some sort of intervention, in this case an experimental vaccine. Because upper respiratory viruses have animal reservoirs, we will struggle to make this virus go away. We do believe however, that with human ingenuity, we can find an antidote to eradicate this human made virus from the earth in the future. Until that time, we need to advocate for each other.
This publication will be rolled out over the series of days as we finalize and compile data. We have attempted to follow the science by looking at timelines related to the virus, how individuals and agencies have reacted to its manifestation, and research that investigates multiple areas of this event.
We recognize that many of you are brilliant in your specific fields, and we do not pretend to be medical doctors, virologists, or mask makers, as these are not our areas of expertise. Our Ph.Ds./doctoral work and positions at large research I institutions certainly qualifies us to navigate peer reviewed research, datasets, and information. Our ability to stay abreast with the latest forums and places on the web where valuable information can be found without relying on the algorithms of google, search engines like safari and chrome, and other major corporations that control much of the information disseminated to individuals. This is one of the biggest problems, and we see it among our own family members who do not have the skill sets or knowledge to navigate the information.
As we remind students at school, when we read research, many of us just read the abstract and a few notes. It takes time, energy, and effort to delve into the data/information to attempt to find the truth. We also let them know that the word Belief has another word within it – “lie.” Our goal is to find knowledge that is factual. Trusting the science is different from trusting the scientists. This appears to be one of the most pressing issues, as many studies can be retracted but the readers never return to check for updates. It is also clear that some scientists have unethical agenda, or they are compensated for their work.
Below is the research we have found. We will continue to add and update the information. We want to give credit to those who have done much of this research as our intention is not to plagiarize or monetize any of this document. We seek no fame; we simply want to educate the population on the importance of reading this information prior to making a medical decision that could subsequently impact your life or your family’s life forever.