This was the facial expression Gov. Phil Scott pulled when he was asked if his administration got “caught with your pants down” by the Omicron variant. Yeah, he doesn’t like admitting he may have been wrong and he hates it when someone calls him on it. Maybe we can stop with the “nice guy” stuff, please?
Backing up for a sec. In a Friday newsdump at the end of last week, Education Secretary Dan French announced a complete change in Covid-19 policy for the public schools. At the time, I wrote: “There’s only one good thing about this fiasco. It’s the first time anyone in the Scott administration has admitted that their policies weren’t working.”
Well, at his Tuesday Covid briefing, the governor came out swinging against the idea that his now-inoperative school policies didn’t work.
“The process we’ve been using with school nurses acting as contact tracers was effective before Omicron,” he said in his opening statement, “but it no longer is as effective as it once was.”
I’d like to hear him say that to the face of any school nurse in Vermont. They, and other school staff, were overwhelmed by the workload involved in contact tracing and Test to Stay*. It was unsustainable, and the administration did nothing to help. That’s why the Agency of Education struggled throughout the fall semester to get school districts to sign up for Test to Stay. It was more effective than, say, doing nothing at all, but it never came close to being effective.
*Speaking of which, Scott announced that child care facilities will now be able to sign up for Test to Stay. Did anyone else notice the contradiction? “Test to Stay” is now ineffective in the schools, but it’s the latest thing for child care? Huh.
Hell, he couldn’t even bring himself to admit that the policy failed to meet the test of the Omicron variant. All he said was the policy was “no longer as effective as it once was.”
Which brings us to the pants question.Continue reading