The end of summer usually signals it’s time to think about sending kids back to school.
Normally, most kids protest a bit at giving up the freedom they’ve had over summer break–they’d like to stay home and avoid the classroom a little longer.
But this year, home has been the classroom since March or April. Online classes have changed the lives of teachers, students, and parents–many of whom likely never thought they’d ever “home school” their kids.
Yes, kids needs to go back to school. But the call to return to a physical classroom comes as COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing.
Yes, kids are much less likely to get severely ill or die from this disease. But they have been proven to spread the disease to others are much as adults do. And classroom education puts adults–like teachers, administrators, aides, and others–at risk, too.
Yes, working parents need to be able to get back to work. But they need to do so without fear of coming home and contracting the disease from their school age kids.
It does no one any good to send kids back to a physical classroom until these issues are resolved. But rather than look at this like an all or nothing situation, why not search for creative compromises?
Can a Zoom science class be supplemented by an outdoor experience with physical distancing and masks? Can teachers and tutors be made available to provide additional learning opportunities and take some of the strain off of parents? Can box lunches be distributed to kids who used to rely on school lunches for a good nutritious meal?
None of the solutions are perfect. But in today’s world, we need to stop thinking about how things used to be and start focusing on what we can do now.
When it comes to school, it’s time to get out of our daze and do the right thing for all involved.
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