(CNN) – As a high school dropout and self-proclaimed “terrible student,” Dave Grohl is the last person you’d expect to defend teachers caught up in the contentious debate of reopening schools amid the pandemic. But the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer did exactly that.
Why? Because his own mother was a public school teacher.
In an essay published in The Atlantic, which was also released in an audio version on the Foo Fighters’ Soundcloud, Grohl spoke out in support of move to continue remote learning for the upcoming school year because of the risk the coronavirus poses to countless teachers and educators, like his mom.
Grohl’s mother is now 82 and retired, but when she worked as a teacher “she tirelessly devoted her life to the service of others, both at home and at work,” Grohl wrote.
“From rising before dawn to ensure that my sister and I were bathed, dressed, and fed in time to catch the bus to grading papers well into the night, long after her dinner had gone cold, she rarely had a moment to herself. All this while working multiple jobs to supplement her meager $35,000 annual salary,” he added.
The 51-year-old singer went on to describe his mother’s dedication to being an “engaging educator,” recalling the moments he would bump into her former students who would share stories of how she was a mentor to them and greatly impacted their lives.
“It takes a certain kind of person to devote their life to this difficult and often-thankless job… And I’m convinced that they are as essential as any other essential workers. Some even raise rock stars!,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said, noting the several other musicians — Adam Levine, Tom Morello, Haim and Josh Groban — who were raised by school workers.
Despite the surging number of new coronavirus cases across the nation, President Donald Trump has pushed for schools to reopen in the fall. A growing number of education and healthcare professionals, however, are fighting against the idea, saying that it’s not safe.
For example, in Arizona, 87 doctors signed a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey urging him to keep schools shut for at least the first quarter of the academic year.
And in Florida, where Miami-Dade county stands as the new epicenter of the pandemic, the Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and other government officials, seeking to overturn the state’s emergency order that forces schools to open for in-person instruction next month.
If teachers are forced to resume in-person classes in the fall, it could mean “life or death,” Grohl said.
He listed out all the concerns that his mom said teachers are now confronted with such as trying to enforce masks, physical distancing and temperature checks. Everyday activities such as eating lunch or using the bathroom would have to be strategically executed.
“Most schools already struggle from a lack of resources; how could they possibly afford the mountain of safety measures that will need to be in place?” Grohl said.
When he asked his mother what she would do, Grohl said his mother replied, “‘Remote learning for the time being.'”
Grohl admitted that remote learning has its own complications. He would know because he has three children of his own, the musician said.
Just as teachers come up with lesson plans, there should be a plan to help our nation’s teachers too, Grohl said.
“Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are. For without them, where would we be?” Grohl concluded his essay.
(CNN) — CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Annie Grayer and Randi Kaye contributed to this report.