Principle #4 – Activate Your Learning Gene
Once again, we are faced with another big transition. What does school look like in the fall? Will schools reopen, or will instruction be held virtually? I don’t know about you…but I’m about tired of this pandemic. We knew all along that this global virus was going to be with us for quite a while but…grr…it’s still frustrating. With every season, there are new adjustments to adapt to, and the fall is no different. It’s time to go back to school.
State and Local Leaders
State lawmakers and school administrators have many decisions to make about reopening schools for class instruction, virtual learning, or a combination of both. The added pressure from the federal level is not helping. Being threatened to lose funding when it may not be possible to safely reopen schools is discrimination. State budgets and local property taxes provide 90% of school funding. The federal government provides approximately 8-10% funding for disadvantaged students. This is education inequality, which could become worse if federal funds are withheld. This is a sore subject with me! My hope is that state leaders will do what is right, for the safety of their citizens, and not let the federal level sway their decisions the wrong way.
“We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” – Barack Obama
While I appreciate the dilemma the state and school districts are facing, it’s also affecting parents, students, and school personnel. For some parents, it doesn’t feel safe to send their children to school. And, on the other hand, they want to feel reassured that they are safe when their children come home from school. Can children transmit the virus? Many parents work outside the home and can’t provide homeschooling for their children. Some students learn better at school, some do great at home with online learning, some are at-risk, and some have special needs. These are all valid concerns. All children deserve the best education in the safest environment possible.
Articles and Research
So, what’s the safest way to offer students the best education? What we do know is, by being pressured to reopen our states, we now have a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. In this article, scientists have informed us that if people wear masks, we can prevent the spread of the virus by 80%. So, let’s wear our masks! And we know that only 2% of children under 18 have tested positive for COVID-19.
This article says children are less likely to catch COVID-19 and less likely to spread it. Here’s another article fact-checking children’s transmission rates, and also describing the debate of reopening schools that lawmakers are currently facing. Here are the CDC guidelines for K-12 schools and colleges/universities about how to safely reopen schools. The CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said in a town hall meeting on CNN last Thursday, that fully reopening schools would be a high risk for Covid-19 spread. Here’s the article.
Let’s look at school from the student’s perspective. There will be many new seniors in high school this year. We all know what the seniors faced last year. There were no proms, and most graduations were virtual. And some seniors that graduated last year are thinking about having a gap year before starting college. This year the new senior class may also miss out on milestones, sports, and maybe even scholarships. College freshmen may miss out on having the dorm experience. None of it is fair, it’s just the effects of a global pandemic.
“The biggest challenge in working together is simply listening.” – Colette Freedman
There are no easy answers for reopening schools in the fall. Education is important, but the decisions must include the health and safety of all involved. My hope is that state leaders, school districts, and parents will understand each other’s positions and will work together to make it a successful experience for students, parents, and school staff.
Best of luck for a wonderful school year and be safe. Wear a mask!
Freedom is possible!