There is continued national debate about reopening our schools. Many schools are safe from COVID-19 because they have taken so many precautions. That is the case at Lakeside schools and programs. However, there are upsides and downsides to any decision in the midst of a strong resurgence of this horrid pandemic which can leave teachers, parents and students with a great deal of anxiety.
In a recent article in the Hechinger Report, Morgan Polikoff, associate professor of education at the University of Southern California, writes an article that discusses the varied complexities of our decision-making regarding returning to school. His research focuses on K-12 education policy, curriculum reform and assessment policy, among other topics.
Here are some quotes from the well-balanced article:
As winter bears down on most of America and Covid-19 again surges out of control, pundits and parents alike are wondering when our nation’s 50 million schoolchildren will return to classrooms. With the election over, now is the time for legislators and leaders in states and the federal government to turn their attention back to education. The debate is raging on social media, school email chains, and even around the dinner table.
On the one side you have folks arguing that the science does not indicate students are a major vector for the virus and that pandemic-induced school closures are causing deep and lasting harm to students, especially the most disadvantaged. There is truth here — evidence is clear that children are at less risk than adults, and there isn’t compelling evidence that careful school re-openings spike coronavirus rates.
On the other side you have folks arguing that the science on transmission in schools is murky and that schools are not safe enough to reopen without the potential risk of inflaming the pandemic and sickening or killing students and teachers. There is truth here, too — many of the existing studies of school re-openings are flawed in some way, and our schools don’t have the testing infrastructure or even the physical spaces needed to ensure the situation won’t spiral when we do reopen.
Professor Polikoff continues with 4 specific realities that will be essential to deal with if we are going to be able to send students back to school safely. Here is the link to the rest of this article.
It will be essential that we step forward as a nation to provide consistent, capable and prudent leadership with decisions that are based on research. We need to help our schools, teachers and students come back together in a way that is safe and effective for all. If we are to salvage this school year it will be imperative to assess the issues at hand and be clear and focused in our decisions. We know that a return to in-person school attendance will be helpful to the success of our students nationally.