Opinion: Opening schools during COVID-19 too risky

While there are many drawbacks to online learning, it is still too early for the school to open up due to teachers’ increased risk and a lack of adequate instruction for students.
While many people want to switch back to school in-person, it is dangerous for students and teachers because of the fact that COVID-19 is still killing people daily. People who are at risk cannot return to classes. Losing teachers during a time when there is a huge teacher shortage is not a good idea. An article in the Arizona Republic included survey results showing that 751 teachers have resigned this year, and that 326 left due to the coronavirus. There are 28 percent teacher vacancies this year, compared to 21 percent last year at the same time.
Many teachers who are at risk and have not returned to school have been forced to resign. This is not only unfair to the teachers but to the students as well. Those students are now learning with a substitute instead of a real teacher. Due to the teaching shortage in Arizona, many of these classrooms are being taught by subs or people who are not certified to teach.
Furthermore, allowing those teachers to keep teaching from home would mean they were still employed by the district. Once they resign or are fired, they will likely not return. No school can afford to lose more teachers, as it is getting more and more difficult to find qualified people to replace them.
Of course, the district does offer an online learning platform for students who are not ready to return. However, the option available, Edgenuity, does not provide students with an actual teacher to teach them the material. If school had remained online, with teachers using Zoom to teach, then at least students would have an actual human teaching them.
Obviously, online school is not an ideal form of learning, but with online school, the students and staff can stay safe. As of today, there have already been two students who tested positive for COVID-19, and who knows how many people they could have infected.
We have a solid online learning platform with the use of Canvas and, while the whole world is struggling with the effects of COVID-19, we should continue to use it. There were a lot of problems with Canvas, which caused many students to feel the online platform was not working and that we had to return to school in person. The reason that Canvas was not working perfectly is because the teachers were not used to it. The more that the teachers get used to the program, the better they would have been with it, and the easier it would have been for the students.
We need to stick together in times like these and support our teachers’ decisions because they are the ones educating the future generation. We should respect their decision to not want to go back until it is safe for everyone. It is too early for everyone to be back in school, and it is too dangerous for some of these teachers with underlying health conditions or family members who are at risk.