‘We Didn’t Go to Public School Just to Homeschool’: Kids and Parents Concerned With Effect Distance Learning Would Have on Students Protested Wednesday
Students and parents, most wearing masks, said they felt like distance learning wasn’t providing them with the support they would get from being in classes with their peers and teachers.
Before the Special Meeting, Superintendent Fred Van Vleck offered this breakdown of the pros and cons of distance learning in a letter to the families of students.
The advantages to in-person learning are clear – it is much better for student learning and for their mental health. The disadvantages are many, and will be weighed against the advantages.
Some examples of disadvantages are:
- Health and safety of students and staff.
- Many students will be assigned to different teachers, as not all of our students will return to in-person learning.
- There is potential students will have to quickly move back to distance learning.
- As we move into the cold and flu season, there will likely be confusion between cold and flu symptoms and COVID symptoms.
- The distance learning program for high school and middle school students who choose to stay on distance learning will not be as specialized, as we will likely shift to a web based learning platform not taught by a subject area specialist. In other words, a math class may be on a web-based program, not taught by a math teacher.
While children are believed to be at low risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID, many fear that gathering students together in a classroom might spread the disease first among students and vulnerable staff and then to more vulnerable populations such as elderly family members.
According to an article in the Scientific American, “[S]evere cases of coronavirus are rare among children, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths.”
However, after initial success slowing the spread of the virus, Israel reopened its schools to in person instruction which many believe may have contributed to a second wave of infections. “Siegal Sadetzki, who resigned in frustration last month as Israel’s director of public health services, wrote that insufficient safety precautions in schools, as well as large gatherings like weddings, fueled a “significant portion” of second-wave infections,” wrote the New York Times.
Parents and students at the protest however, said they were more worried about the immediate danger to their education than the possibility of disease.