In the opening scene of ‘City of Angels,’ there’s a little girl that’s very sick. Her temperature is 105 degrees and her parents are frantically discussing ways to cool her down. Frenzied, the parents whisk her up and hurriedly take her to the emergency room. Upon arrival, she has no pulse, no rhythm. Suddenly, she sees somebody. His name is Seth. Susie, that’s the little girl, asks Seth, the angel, 'where are we going?' Seth replies ‘home’. Susie wants her mom to come and says she won’t understand. The angel distracts Susie and asks if she would answer a question for him. He asks, “What did you like best?” Susie said, “Pajamas.”
Everybody likes pajamas, except the Springfield Public Schools in Illinois. As part of their new student handbook, the dress code for in-person learning and online learning is one in the same. Online students will dress to the dress code. “Hats, caps, bandannas, hoods of any type, sweatbands (people still wear sweatbands), sunglasses, pajama pants, slippers or shoes with wheels shall not be worn in the building.”
When specifically speaking about pajama bottoms, education officials said ‘they aren’t acceptable school apparel.’ Students should get out of bed, sit at a table, and look directly into the camera during online classes.
School board member Judith Johnson said she received no push back from parents on the ‘no pajama pants’ referendum. She believes that if you dress better, you perform better.
Some parents are angry. “The district can’t tell them what they can or can’t do in their homes,” said one parent. As far as this particular issue, strong opinions are building on both sides of ‘pajama gate’.
Aaron Graves, a Springfield middle school educator said that the dress code is at the ‘bottom of the priority schedule’ when it comes to education. He went on to say that teachers have more important things to focus like making sure the students get a comprehensive education during the pandemic.
A statement was released Friday by the public relations director of the school board in regards to enforcing such an issue. The statement read as follows, “Generally speaking, there are no definitive one-to-one consequences for any disciplinary response.”
As ‘pajama gate’ continues in Springfield, Illinois, small towns across America are trying to resolve broadband issues for students without internet access. One of the major online learning issues in Kentucky is that many rural areas aren't equipped with the latest technology.
COVID-19 has only enhanced the need for 21st century technology. As it stands, many families are traveling to 'hotspots' or school parking lots in order for their children to be educated. It's 'the bigger problem' facing areas like rural western Kentucky.
The issues of dress code do have merit. Being able to 'come as you are' is part of the package when learning or working from home. In mid-March when the country shuttered due to the pandemic, it was not uncommon to see photos or videos of men with a shirt, tie and well-groomed hair for the camera and boxers on 'site unseen.'
Still, others believe you need to dress the part. Getting up everyday to shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed will produce a better attitude, alertness, and commitment.
It’s an issue worth considering and both sides have merit.
The way the virus is spreading and with more positive tests being reported, everyone may be learning and working from home.