A reasonable approach to returning to school

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Teacher's deskEducators and advocates are divided as schools throughout the country are beginning to reopen for in-person learning.

John Schilling of American Federation for Children believes "most reasonable people want students to go back to school."

"Districts across America have had four months to develop safe and responsible reopening plans," he points out. "Aside from all of the social, mental, and emotional reasons for children to be back in school, they learn better in the face-to-face environment, especially elementary school children who are a very low-risk of getting or transmitting the virus."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes similar comments on a webpage devoted to the issue of schools reopening:

The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children, at least in areas with low community transmission, and suggests that children are unlikely to be major drivers of the spread of the virus.

If a community is a virus hotspot, then Schilling supports efforts to go virtual for a period of time.

Schilling

"Going completely virtual doesn't work for everyone," he warns. "It doesn't work for the family where both parents have to work, it doesn't work for single-parent families, it doesn't work for millions of low-income families who do not have access to high-speed Internet or a computer, and it doesn't work for most special needs children who need in-person instruction."

Some teachers and teachers' unions are in favor of schools doing distance learning for the time being. In recent weeks, Florida's largest teacher's union has sued the state for reopening schools.

"Governor [Ron] DeSantis (R) needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one," Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram said in a statement shared on NBCNews.com. "The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control."

Demonstrations have been held in other parts of the country where teachers and school employees have signed their wills. In Iowa, teachers sent fake obituaries to Governor Kim Reynolds (R). In New York City, teachers brought coffins and a guillotine while protesting plans to reopen schools.

"Children cannot focus on schoolwork if their family members or teachers are in the hospital or dying," Frankie Cook, a kindergarten teacher at PS 261 in Brooklyn told New York Post. "Children cannot learn if they're dead."

"This is less about protecting teachers or students, and it's more about politics and money," John Schilling tells OneNewsNow. "Their conduct has been reprehensible."

He adds that every job has its own risks, and while no one wants to put teachers in danger, "there are safe and responsible things that can be done so that children can get a full-time quality education."

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