A member of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education has taken down a social media post that he says misrepresented Centers for Disease Control guidance on the reopening of schools.
George Archuleta also apologized Monday for sharing the meme without thoroughly vetting it first.
Archuleta explained in an interview that he regretted spreading inaccurate information, even temporarily, and hopes no one was misled by what he shared.
The viral meme sprang up after it appeared the CDC had developed guidelines for state and local officials to consider when reopening school buildings in the fall. The guidelines cover such topics such as social distancing, encouraging the use of face coverings, and procedures for cleaning and sanitizing classrooms and other spaces.
The meme in Archuleta’s initial post expressed concern that the CDC’s strictures could make the reopening of schools practically impossible.
But when Archuleta learned that the CDC had not issued formal rules for reopening schools and that the actual decisions would be made by individual states, he took down the meme and posted an apology.
Archuleta’s eagerness to correct the record and avoid spreading misinformation drew expressions of appreciation from some in the community, including fellow school board member Virginia Houston.
The information in the meme Archuleta shared was not entirely inaccurate as much as it was potentially misleading, according to a review conducted by USA Today.
For instance, guidance about face coverings — which the CDC is recommending as schools reopen but also acknowledges may not be feasible for all students all the time — was paraphrased to imply all students over age 2 would be required to wear masks.
Archuleta said he doesn’t want anyone to think the guidelines have already been issued as formal rules, and that’s one reason he wanted to correct the information on his Facebook page.
“I didn’t research it like I should have,” Archuleta said of the meme. “As good leadership you should be able to own the wrongs as much as you own the rights.”
Archuleta said the controversy has arisen amid concerns about how schools have been handling the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said local school administrators are taking some heat online over how graduations are being handled, for instance, but he wants everyone to understand administrators are trying to do the best they can under difficult conditions.