Surviving the Shutdown: Compass Homeschool Program

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When Jenny Grove-Bradshaw opened the doors to Compass Homeschool Program in 2012, she knew she would face hurdles as a small business owner. What she didn’t anticipate was Big Brother erecting additional barriers to work in the name of public health. Yet that has been the experience of Grove-Bradshaw and millions of other business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic as state governments have forced businesses to close their doors for indefinite amounts of time.

“I didn’t think there was any chance of living in a climate where the government would start handing down mandates that would absolutely crush my business. I didn’t think it was possible,” Grove-Bradshaw says in a new video released by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam began ordering businesses and schools across the Commonwealth to close their doors in March, and like many entrepreneurs, Grove-Bradshaw quickly adapted to continue serving the community as best as possible. Compass Homeschool Program cancelled all kindergarten through eighth-grade classes but was able to move many high school classes online. By doing so, many students remained on track to meet state graduation requirements and Grove-Bradshaw was able to keep some funds flowing toward her business. But the fact remains that without full classrooms and a full class load, Grove-Bradshaw will be unable to pay her rent and stay afloat.

As of today, Grove-Bradshaw is planning to return to in-person classes this fall and has already begun planning for various accommodations to respond to the risks of COVID-19. But without Governor Northam’s stamp of approval, the doors to Compass Homeschool Program may never be opened.

“At the end of the day, it’s the parents’ choice,” Grove-Bradshaw says. “I try to look at it from a sense of reason and commonsense, which I don’t think is being used by people, and I don’t think it’s being used by government.”

Entrepreneurs have spent years—and in some cases, a lifetime—building businesses that provide for their families and contribute to their local communities. Government should allow these responsible business owners to reopen and empower individuals to make their own decisions regarding how and when to engage in social distancing.