August 22, 2020
The More You Know.
- We are seeing, as various schools attempt to bring students back to campus, that even if children really are less susceptible, they are certainly not immune.
- How does one weigh the safety of children verses their social development?
- With so much to consider, it is tempting to just accept that the kids may be home until a vaccine arrives.
“The US Centers for Disease Control says the number and rate of cases in children ‘have been steadily increasing’ since March, and that previous low rates of infections were due to mitigation measures such as stay at home orders and school closures.” This is not a shocking thought. We are seeing, as various schools attempt to bring students back to campus, that even if children really are less susceptible, they are certainly not immune. Although multiple methods are being utilized in schools that are physically reopening to keep kids and the families they will return to each day as safe as possible, there is still risk.
Everything else being equal, structure, a classroom, and peers with whom to engage, are only a few of the attributes that make attending school in person a more well-rounded experience than learning online. Of course, all else is currently in the throes of upheaval, leaving parents, teachers, and communities without easy answers.
How does one weigh the safety of children verses their social development? Or against their need to be able to readily access help from a teacher? Safety first is the obvious answer, but is there any way to ensure safety while still allowing for the full spectrum of school as we have known it?
Cohorts may be part of the solution. Students would be assigned to a group, with whom they would take classes and benefit from at least some socialization. The idea is that instead of being exposed to hundreds of others throughout a school day, students would only be exposed to the same small group each day. There are also plans at some schools to have teachers rotate classrooms and have students remain in the same classroom all day.
So, with masks, and distance, and cohorts do we feel safe sending our kids back into the classroom? It may depend in part on where you’ll be sending your child. Variables determined by location, public or private status, and of course, financial health will influence whether a school will even be capable of providing in-house learning that is also physically distant.
With so much to consider, it is tempting to just accept that the kids may be home until a vaccine arrives. However, that could potentially mean in the vicinity of a year spent without traditional school interactions. There is also the economic fallout from parents being forced to curtail or abandon jobs to care for and help educate children that under normal circumstances would be taught and supervised outside the home.
There is no answer that doesn’t have a steep downside. But fortunately, it is only temporary.