Dan Smith: Deena Bishop sends weak message about possible closure of schools


On Dec. 21, Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst stated, “Don’t wear a cloth mask. Cloth masks are little more than facial decoration. There is no place for them in light of Omicron.”  

Maybe she finally got around to reading the cover of the surgical mask box. Right there on the box, for all to see, it says, “Not intended for medical use or to prevent any disease or illness.”

A few days later, Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted on MSNBC that hospitals are “over counting” Covid-19 cases in children.

“If you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with Covid as opposed to because of Covid. If a child goes in the hospital they automatically get tested for Covid and they get counted as a Covid-hospitalized individual when in fact they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that.  So it’s over counting the number of children who are hospitalized with Covid as opposed to because of Covid,” Fauci said on Dec. 31.

Do you suppose this applies to hospitalized adults as well? Obviously it does.  

The numbers lie.

In fact, this has been discussed long before Fauci’s less-than-remarkable revelation. If you have been paying attention, you have known this for some time. Can we really rely on any information put forth by government health agencies at this point? The distrust of our government health syndicate may be a permanent condition incapable of being repaired.     

On Jan. 4, Anchorage School Superintendent Deena Bishop wrote: “The latest COVID-19 data from State of Alaska (SOA) shows an uptick for ASD and SOA. As of this time, there are no changes to our mitigation plan. More specifically, the mask requirement remains, along with testing and other mitigation procedures that were in place prior to winter break. A decision about extending the mask requirement past January 15th will be made by January 14th. We continue to closely monitor emerging developments concerning COVID-19. We remain in constant contact with our local, state, and federal partners.” 

Uptick? It appears ASD is basing decisions on case numbers, which are at best tainted with over counting. 

Covid cases are not necessarily hospitalizations. Covid cases are not necessarily deaths. Cases of the new Omicron Covid variant are increasingly symptom free or similar to a cold that we used to treat with Nyquil.  

A quick look at the State of Alaska’s Covid dashboard shows that hospitalizations are flat. Hospitals are not overwhelmed and have plenty of capacity. There is no crisis. Hospitalizations and deaths are the only real upticks we should be looking for.    


Superintendent Bishop went on: “The priority is keeping our schools open and safe with in-person learning. Our students belong in the classroom. Nevertheless, things could change depending on how this recent variant continues, and I want to provide some insight into what may occur if our staffing levels fall,” Bishop wrote.

“Similar to the one-week closure following the 2018 earthquake, we may need to take some time off school to build our staffing if employee absences are too great to carry out our mission. We want to keep our staff healthy. This learning time would be made up with quality instructional days throughout the spring semester, consequently adjusting the school calendar for presently scheduled non-instructional days. Virtual learning would only occur as a last resort as our students’ learning and mental health were shown to be negatively impacted last year during this time,” Bishop continued.

I’m glad to hear Superintendent Bishop has her priorities straight when it comes keeping schools open. Schools should never be closed again for this safety charade. The safety-for-liberty trade is a very old and tired justification for revocation of rights and freedoms.  

If staffing is an issue, could we recruit more substitute teachers? I hear that recruitment efforts are in the works. If this is the driving force behind another potential shut down, finding substitutes should be the number one priority. The policy of a forced 5- or 10-day absence for staff due to contraction of a cold virus should receive serious reconsideration.   

Unfortunately, the superintendent’s message is muddied by comparison to the earthquake. The earthquake damaged school buildings and made them uninhabitable due to structural, mechanical, and electrical damage. 

The virus does not make a building unsafe. It is the reaction to the virus and the choice of our school board majority to close facilities down or require teachers and staff to stay home that creates the damage. If we continue to measure the extent of a problem by an insignificant and corrupted data point like case counts, we will never see the end of bad decision making.  Covid-19 is now endemic just like influenza. We never upended our entire education system for the flu season. We never required asymptomatic people to stay home because the flu was in schools or the community. In fact, the only way to end the ASD mask mandates and shut downs may be to stop testing altogether. There is no emergency. Stop testing and it all goes away.

If Bishop desires to further her political career or even be remembered favorably, she must stand up to her employers — the majority of the school board. 

Bishop expressed her view on masks when she relinquished the mandate and favored parental choice for the last half of this year. Bishop now needs to own her prior decision to let our children breathe freely. If schools are closed again and if this miserable mask malarkey continues to persist, she will most likely be viewed as having a weak moral compass. Bishop needs to address the school board majority and educate them about the damage they continue to cause with masks and could potentially cause with another school shut down. Bishop should view this as an opportunity.    

I have no idea what Bishop wants to do in the future. I do know that bending like a willow, with each political wind that blows through, has never been a characteristic of a principled conservative. There is a real opportunity for Bishop to establish some conservative street credentials and stand by her earlier decision in favor of liberty and freedom. Rolling over and succumbing to another school shut down or a continued mask mandate is a step in the wrong direction for her and for Anchorage.          

What can the school board do, fire her? That could be a badge of honor at this point. If the school board majority insists on continued masking, it is really a case of willful ignorance. The information necessary to make a solid decision in favor of our kids is out there, if they choose to take off the blinders.

Dan Smith is a lifelong Alaskan and Anchorage resident who writes for Must Read Alaska.


  1. In July of 2020, my husband and I broke up with public education. We had our sons in what I still believe was the BEST SCHOOL in the city, Denali Montessori. But given the already apparent yo-yo game going on (will it be in-person or online? Masks or no masks? Half days or full days? Teacher in or teacher out?) we decided not to participate in the B*S*. Even though we gave up a spot in a good school we liked, it was THE BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE. And I mean it.

    Boycott public school now. They have way, way, way too much power over your life. Once enough of us do this, the money will follow. Once their precious funding is threatened, they’ll start singing a new song.

  2. What happened to erring on the side of caution when a child’s health is at stake? Wearing masks is not that difficult, backing off on using children as political weapons is very difficult for some people.

    • Yes, Frank, in the eyes of authoritarians like you, every infringement on liberty, not to mention sanity, is “not that difficult” and “erring on the side of caution”. But do shallow and simplistic people like you EVER stop to consider the costs, ramifications and secondary after-effects of all your coercive mandates and proposals? Ever? Clearly not.

  3. Bishop is an empty suit at this point. The Politburo has taken her power. The only reason she’s not getting deposed is she’s already leaving.
    Ah, fascist Anchorage.

  4. Tele-education is the answer to this and to the state having a much bigger spend on education than its economy can possibly afford. And the standardized test results would not be any worse than now.

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