In the last few days, the reopening of schools has become a major topic. Most everyone agrees that our kids deserve the best education they can possibly get and we need to make sure we keep as many people safe as possible.
It isn’t a secret that distance learning has been a big challenge for many school districts around the county and is leaving too many kids behind. We must also not only keep our kids safe but do everything we can to make sure they don’t transmit the virus to more vulnerable populations (parents, grandparents, teachers, etc.)
We don’t know much about this virus, but one thing we do know is that is doesn’t affect kids nearly as much as older populations. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended kids be in school next year. There is also evidence that kids are less likely to pass along the virus than teenagers or older people are – which would make reopening elementary schools less risky than high schools. We also know that other countries have reopened their schools and haven’t seen a sudden spike in cases yet. We are beginning to learn more about the unintended consequences on students’ mental health and the extra strain distance learning has put on parents.
So far, the model has been for students to stay at home, and teachers ZOOM to their students. The other day, I heard an interesting proposal for switching these roles. Students would meet in the classroom, while teachers instruct from home (via ZOOM). To enforce social distancing, masking, and other safety precautions, younger teachers or proctors, who are less susceptible to the virus, would be present in the classroom.
The bottom line is, we need to make sure our kids can get the best education possible, even in the midst of the pandemic.