Re-opening schools: Another COVID-19 hot topic

re-opening schools, teacher stooping by student's desk in class

There has recently been an almost constant flutter of online discord and debate regarding a COVID-19 related issue. People are talking about re-opening schools, and, as has been the case with most COVID-19 issues, there are myriad opinions circulating the globe.

In the United States, most kids have been home since late April or early May. Devoted teachers, parents and students maximized combined efforts to try to finish out the 2019-2020 year via online classes during quarantine. That intensified an already stressful situation, and now, the question is whether re-opening schools would be good or bad for children’s health. Following, is a compilation of viewpoints we’ve seen in online posts and have heard from friends, family and school faculty members in person:

We should not be re-opening schools

re-opening schools, boy using computer, lady on computer screen

The folks in this group believe staff members and kids will be at risk if schools re-open in August. Some think September is too soon as well. Many people in this category say they finally got the whole online school thing down pat, so why not just continue and not take chances of kids or teachers getting sick from COVID-19 if they return to their brick and mortar classrooms?

It’s fine to re-open schools, but parents should get to choose

Woman placing face mask on girl's face

Many parents have said they are fine with re-opening schools, as long as THEY don’t have to send their kids if they don’t want to. In other words, the people in this group believe it is fine if state governors and school boards give the go-ahead to re-open school doors. However, they want there to be an option to continue learning from home via online classes for parents who are not comfortable sending their kids back.

Re-opening schools should have happened long ago — in fact, they should never have been closed

A large percentage of people say schools should immediately open without restrictions regarding face masks, social distancing, etc. Such people also say the governors never should have shut down the schools to begin with, and that it is not only weakening children’s immune systems by keeping them isolated for so long, it is not good for their mental health either.

Thoughts to ponder about COVID-19 and face masks that might help you form an opinionre-opening schools, black and white photo of old time school recess

A plethora of information has inundated television and radio airwaves, as well as the internet, since COVID-19 and the subsequent state government mandates that followed drastically changed life in America. The only problem is that much of the information has been inaccurate. On top of that, there is ample evidence of mass media campaigns to spread fake news and instill fear throughout the country. Here are some things we can say for sure:

  • Most people who contract COVID-19 fully recover without serious complications.
  • Children do not get the virus as often as adults.
  • As a recent U.S. study suggests, more than 98% of people who recover from COVID-19 develop antibodies against the virus.
  • Wearing face masks is not particularly effective at preventing COVID-19, and improper use of masks can have serious, adverse health implications.
  • Children’s health and well-being thrives most when kids have ample opportunity for outdoor, unstructured play and social interaction.

Approximately 40 million people were out of work during shut downs, including teachers. Many people say that re-opening schools can help re-boost the economy. A teacher friend of mine also added a funding-based perspective when she posted information on her Facebook timeline. In her post, she stated that her research showed that cyber-schooling can cost a public school system upward toward $1 million and that schools receive funding based on enrollment numbers, so parents keeping their previously enrolled kids home could be causing their children’s schools to lose funding.

Interesting side note: If you noticed that the image I posted in this section was an old time, black and white photo of kids playing on a school playground together, it’s because my search for “kids playing together on school playground” kept coming up empty! I kid you not! All the free stock photos feature ONE student sitting alone at a desk or computer. The only other group photo I could find is the one I posted earlier of the teacher stooping beside the student’s desk. I couldn’t help but ask myself what was going on. Why does the Pexels website appear to be set to show ONE student at a time even when I search for “students” or “group of students,” etc.?

Officials should at least make up their minds

A Georgia school recently returned to classrooms, which sparked a flurry of debate after a photograph of students changing classes in the hallway was published. After numerous parents complained about crowds in hallways and no apparent enforcement of face mask requirements, the superintendent sent out a note saying it wasn’t as bad as it looked. He said there are brief moments throughout the school day when students must walk down the halls to change classes, so they are not in crowded corridors for extended periods of time. He also said it is nearly, if not completely impossible, to enforce mask-wearing in a school of 2,000 or more students.

In other parts of the country, however, many college students have spent hundreds of dollars shopping for clothes and back-to-school supplies. They had check-in dates scheduled and thought they’d be spending this week saying goodbye to family and friends; however, they’ve received emails announcing last minute changes of decision, stating not to arrive on campus as planned but to make arrangements for virtual schooling for the fall semester. It’s understandable that families are frustrated and confused, especially considering the fact that as more accurate numbers are surfacing, the news is even MORE encouraging regarding COVID-19 and how many people fully recover if they contract the virus. What might be the reasoning behind opening schools then shutting them down before students even get there? Many people say this makes no logical sense.

How do you feel about re-opening schools?

We’d love for you to weigh in on this topic. Do you think schools should re-open? If so, when? Should there be restrictions? Why or  why not?

There’s, perhaps, another category of people I left out here, which would be those who are open to sending kids back to school but not until a vaccine is available. If you’re in that category, you might to read THIS.

 

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