It was probably about two months ago when my preacher told a story at church which has stuck with me. It was a story about goldfish.
According to the story, a man wanted to buy a few goldfish so he first went to the store to purchase a tank. The tank he picked out was a little dirty and dusty. No telling how long it had been on that shelf.
So the man bought the tank, a big bottle of dish soap, and he headed home. When he got there, he squirted dish soap all over the tank and scrubbed every inch of it to make sure it was clean as could be.
Then he raced down to the pet store to buy four beautiful goldfish. The goldfish hadn’t been in the tank for long when, one by one, they started to die. Sadly, all four goldfish were dead in less than 24 hours.
Furious, the man marched back to the pet store demanding to know what happened.
“Did you have a clean tank?” asked the pet store owner.
“Of course,” the man replied. “I scrubbed that tank with dish soap for an hour to make it spotless.”
“Well that explains it,” said the pet store owner. “Dish soap creates a deadly reaction for goldfish when they come in contact with it.”
The moral of this story is straightforward. The man, in trying to do something good for his goldfish, actually did the worst thing possible due to his lack of knowledge and understanding.
That story comes to mind when I think about Gov. Bill Lee and his move Monday in signing Executive Order No. 84. The Executive Order gives parents of K-12 students the ability to ignore any mask mandate that’s issued and send their child to school without a mask.
For those of us who hate wearing masks, and I think that’s all of us, the move could be considered a win. But for education officials throughout Tennessee who spent many hours over the summer developing detailed COVID plans, the Executive Order tosses all their hard work in the trash with one stroke of a pen.
Regardless of your stance on masks, I think most everyone agrees on one thing. In order to have school, we need teachers, principals and bus drivers. And if they are home sick with COVID because students are running around without masks, it’s going to be really tough to teach students in class.
The big push this year is to keep children in school five days a week. That's the goal, but then we're not doing anything to slow the virus.
On Tuesday, Warren County Schools had trouble with three bus routes because of a driver shortage due to illness. We haven't even been in school a full week yet.
If we’re forced to cancel school for COVID like we’ve canceled school for weeks at a time for the flu, we’re not achieving the goal of keeping students in the classroom. They will be right back at home just like last year because everyone is sick.
While it may be well-intentioned, I get the sinking feeling Gov. Lee’s Executive Order to allow students to ignore mask mandates is going to end up similar to the story about the goldfish.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.