The school board made the decision to have in-person learning return on September 8, which is the right decision. The risks and concerns about COVID-19 do not outweigh the importance of being physically in school.
The board’s choice to return to physical learning was necessary, because it allows students to receive hands-on learning, interaction with teachers and other students, which all have an effect on a student’s ability to learn.
In an article for Boys and Girls Club of America, Dr. Gil Noam, founder and director of The Partnerships in Education and Resilience Institute, said that not being in contact with others during times of crisis such as this can have long term effects on a kid’s mental health.
Opening schools is especially important for little children because most of their parents have to go to work. Having to pay extra money for a babysitter or even stay home for their child is unnecessary. It can reduce the amount of money they are making for the family.
A recent study conducted by trackthererecovery.org showed that students’ math ability has slowed due to distance learning. Getting face to face time with other students and teachers helps immensely.
The online learning platform is also horribly done. Canvas is a completely new interface for the school, and the rollout was executed very poorly. Many students have complained about sitting in their chair or bed for at least six hours of the day, staring at a screen trying to pay attention. Additional homework also forces kids to increase in their screen time.
Online education can be a challenge simply because of technical difficulties. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five teenagers can’t complete work over the internet due to bad connection or computer problems. This affects low income families heavily.
Opening schools also is also good for the physical health of students because of sports. Many student athletes participate in physical activities through school. Without school being open, these sports seasons have been cancelled, making kids not as motivated to stay healthy.
For high school students, missing school can also have a negative impact on getting into college. Many students have said that they are not feeling confident with online learning and that it will affect them on the SAT and other major tests.
The main argument against returning to school is that we are in the middle of a pandemic, and the health risk is not worth it. However, several studies have found that children are at a low risk from death to COVID-19, as they only make up a tenth of the death toll.
Another problem with the school’s opening is that many teachers have resigned as a result. In Arizona, over 300 teachers resigned and eight teachers have resigned from Cactus Shadows as a result of the virus. However, while teachers have the right to resign if they are concerned for their health, the school should remain open and find substitutes to take the place of the teachers who have decided to leave.
Opening schools is very important, not only for the students, but the teachers and parents. School districts must continue to find safe ways for everyone to get back to the best way of educating students, which is in-person.