Schools, Teachers, and Covid: Disregard Students
Schools, Teachers, and Covid: Disregard Students
As schools reopen around the country, the Covid furor between teachers, parents, and unions ignores the needs of the students. The divide between “go back in person” and “stay remote until there’s a cure” is growing. Teachers and unions unwilling to acknowledge the adverse effects of the “new normal” that are putting kids at risk.
Most children need to be in school with a teacher, and friends in their classroom. Period.
The American Association of Pediatrics writes in “Planning Considerations: Guidance for school Re-entry” (8/20),
The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality.”
Negative impacts you say? Like increased risk of suicide? Increased risks of unreported sexual or physical abuse? More street violence? Yes to all of these, and more. Lisa Damour, an adolescent psychologist tells NPR,
Teenagers are in a developmental space where it is critically important that they have regular contact with their peers and are able to develop close and ongoing relationships with adults outside the home, such as their teachers, their coaches, their advisers,”
Many kids who are not in school are on the streets. North Philadelphia has seen a 43% increase in teen gun violence – a total of 70 teenagers have been shot in 2020. They are young, Black, and not in school. I don’t see Black Lives marching down those North Philly streets protesting for kids to get back in school. Why are there no teachers unions threatening a walk-out to protect the children dying in the gutters.
My kids school district delayed reopening by a few weeks. Forcing everyone back into distance learning until the district held a better grasp of the “return to the classroom” situation. “The situation” being teachers who wanted to continue teaching remotely and not return back to the classroom. Educators who work away from the campus, yet retain the full benefits of being a teacher, would rather work from home. Shocking right?
Unfortunately for the “phone it in” teachers, most parents across our district – and the nation, have come to the realization that distance learning is not learning, but a “check in the box” to education funding. Both the parent and student are experiencing frustration, anxiety, and stress directly related to endless hours parked in front of a screen. It’s the school house version of the Zoom meeting from Hell. For children.
When did the pediatrician stop asking about my kids “screen time”? Back when our schools went on-line in April.
New York Post writes,
What’s clear is that distance-learning isn’t just a waste of time, it is actually doing harm to children. And worst of all, it is those we have entrusted with their safety that are putting it in jeopardy.”
Overwhelmingly, when given the choice, parents are opting to send their kids back to school for in-person schooling. In my district of 11,000 students, over 60% of K-12 parents have committed to in class instruction. If distance learning was effective with positive outcomes, keeping kids home would be the easy choice. But it’s not effective. Parents are functioning as IT support, classroom assistant, or re-learning K-12 as their child bumbles through often complex platforms (I’m looking at you Edgenuity!), and ineffective “educational videos” located on YouTube or Khan Academy.
We, and many schools across the country, are blessed to have some amazing teachers. People who put their students ahead of themselves. Men and women who spend personal time and treasure making sure that every child has what they need to succeed. I love and support good teachers (even those in my own family – Jen!). But, not all teachers share those traits.
It’s to these teachers, and their unions, that this section is dedicated.
In his opinion piece, “Teacher unions are holding America’s students hostage“, Chris Talgo writes in The Hill,
… teacher unions (and their political allies) are holding America’s students hostage in a devil’s bargain for more money and power.”
Say it ain’t so!! He continues,
Los Angeles Teachers Union (LATU) list of demands includes “implementing a moratorium on private schools, defunding the police, increasing taxes on the wealthy, implementing Medicare for all, and passing the HEROES Act, which allocated an additional $116 billion in federal education funding to the states.”
I AM SHOCKED!! Children are being held as bargaining chips over the “altar of woke social justice” by the teachers
Chris nails the crux of the current situation across the country, and the teachers who refuse to re-enter the classroom,
Like it or not, America’s teachers are essential workers. Grocery store clerks, gas station attendants and a whole host of other “essential workers” have braved the pandemic. Why shouldn’t teachers do the same?”
Are teachers essential or not? Why is the grocery employee (usually a kid in High School) forced to work in a “high risk” environment when on-line ordering and grocery delivery is a staple across the country? Unlike First Responders and medical workers, the grocery clerk didn’t sign on for this level of risk.
But they show up and do their jobs. So why can’t teachers?
Some teachers are concerned about exposing themselves or their families to Coronavirus. Many districts are following CDC guidelines, and have afforded “high-risk” teachers the option to stay remote while proctors monitor students in the classroom. Obviously, this option is limited and applied on a sliding scale of risk assessment.
For example, our district was limited to 70 spaces for remote teaching. The remaining 107 denied teachers now need to make their choice and return to school, or find alternative employment. Some are opting to retire, and others are opting to complain that the safety measures are inadequate.
A snapshot of what in person school looks like at an affluent school district in Texas Hill Country:
PPE and protective measures provided by the school district:
And yet, many teachers would rather complain that there isn’t enough being done to keep them safe. Therefore, they should not be made to choose between employment and their risk of infection.
About that risk… Our district has instituted a tracking app for the schools. Currently there are two positive cases, for a total percentage of 0.018% of 11,016 students. And that risk to staff… Zero staff are infected. Following the science, it makes sense.
The New York Post writes,
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, 94 percent of COVID deaths have involved people with an average of 2.6 other conditions; 92 percent were 55 or older, an age when many teachers have already retired. Younger people often don’t get sick or, if they do, recover quickly.”
Even in liberal cities like New York, parents are pushing a return to in-person schools. Unfortunately a district staffed by educators entrenched in the teachers union has limited options when teachers refuse to return. Teachers are refusing to return, despite the extraordinary safety measures outlined by The New York Post,
the city is taking countless steps to make schools safe. It set up testing routines, contact tracing, ventilation procedures, hybrid schedules and numerous other measures. Kids whose parents have concerns can opt for online instruction only. Teachers with serious medical issues can get exemptions.”
The article continues,
The mayor’s reopening plan is not safe,” huffed a teachers-union caucus, the Movement of Rank and File Educators. It blasted the city for “inadequate contact tracing and a lack of transparency” and threatened that teachers wouldn’t return until they’re satisfied — which looks like never.”
I feel for the children in NYPS system. They are suffering for the greed, and hyped-up fear from professionals who are supposed to care about them.
Individual counties and school districts will have to decide where their numbers need to be before they allow schools to re-open. But they must also address the gaps in the current systems. Be it hybrid, remote, or in-person with a remote teacher – the one constant is that children should always be the focus of the plan. Schools are not built as places to employ teachers, but places to educate children.
This is where we are, but not where we need to stay:
Thank You, Sarah, and Welcome to our Instapundit readers.