There are many divisive topics in the world, jam first or clotted cream first on British scones, which way does the toilet roll go or the controversial milk first or cereal first in the bowl. One such divisive opinion that is in with current events is whether schools should reopen.
Living in New Zealand has made it surreal to be in this “new normal” with our kids back at school. However, we have to stay vigilant because it’s just a matter of time and there will be some community cases again. It sounds like a downer, but we mustn’t be complacent.
I am in daily contact with lots of teachers worldwide and speaking with them I realise there are mixed feelings about whether schools should reopen.
Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) brought out evidence that shows the negative impact of COVID on our kids and the economy. Despite the continued rise of cases, the CDC supports reopening schools in autumn, which invited a lot of backlash (and some support) from the public.
There’s also new evidence showing that the achievement gap is widening between white students and students of black and Hispanic heritage. The longer schools shutdown more students could suffer disproportionate learning losses which could lead to more dropping out.
On the other side of the coin, we have parents, teachers, school administrators and others who are troubled by the prospect of schools reopening. Should they let them go back to school? How will the students cope? How do the adults keep them safe? The students themselves, at least those who understand the risks of going back to school, worry about it too.
For some families, they might not even have that choice. Depending on the school it will either be Plan A: return to school or Plan B: distance learning for all. However, there is a Plan C that other schools will try and that is a hybrid plan. Students will spend some time in school and sometimes learning from home.
So what can we take away from this? Reopening schools could pose a danger for students and teachers alike and could lead to increases in infection rates. However, if schools can implement a good plan that balances safety and learning then we might not have to compromise our kids.