With each conversation I have had this summer, I’ve been asked about my thoughts and opinions on returning to school. The number of COVID cases are much higher than when we were initially quarantined, and people don’t always understand that school districts have many factors to consider when making decisions like that. Here are my thoughts:
First, I would like to acknowledge that there isn’t one right solution in the ‘should we go back to school or continue online learning?’ dilemma. I’m not blind to the amount of students who rely on school for food, hygiene products, socialization, emotional support, etc. I also am aware that many parents count on the school system having in-seat options so they may return to work and support their families. At the same time, I’m not sure if going back to school is the right choice for student health or the wellbeing of staff members.
I admire schools who are offering both online and in-seat options. It’s quite an undertaking to organize and motivate students who are staying at home to learn and, for our high schoolers, to also earn credits towards graduation. And, at the same time, those schools are helping train teachers how to abide by the CDC’s standards so they may teach in person. While preparing for their schools to reopen, administrators are probably handling many questions and concerns coming from families, students, and even staff members.
My school district is one of many allowing students to choose either in-seat learning or to continue their education online. I like that this option supports families and allows them to make the decision based on their comfort level. This plan, though, puts teachers in a tough situation where many fear for their health and the health of their family members.
Now, this is where I don’t want to misrepresent myself. I’m not someone who is overly cautious about catching illnesses. I do wear my mask, and I strongly believe others should as well. I social distance, and make sure to sanitize after leaving public places. I have friends in the medical field, and I’ve heard horror stories about the short-term and long-term impact COVID-19 can have on the human body. Despite this information, I am not as afraid of contracting the virus as I probably should be. With that being said, I am aware enough about the world around me to know that not everyone has the same comfort level as I do about this type of thing.
The possibility of contracting Covid-19 is very real for those returning to school. I may not have this fact in the forefront of my mind at all times as others may, but that doesn’t mean those who are afraid have invalid fears. Do I wonder if schools will really be able to exactly follow CDC guidelines for a safe return? Absolutely. Is it something I am personally overly stressed about? Not really.
So, there it is. How do I feel about returning to school? Personally, I’m not as afraid of it as I probably should be. I am aware and I acknowledge the scientific facts out there about the virus, and at times I find myself more worried than at other times. Due to those scientific facts, I don’t necessarily feel as though going back to school is the best decision for the health of students or staff members. But, I understand the decision was made keeping many different factors in mind. And, there were probably factors considered that I don’t even know about. It’s a predicament with seemingly no right answer.
What are your thoughts on schools returning to in-seating learning? I would love to heard your opinions.