Back to School chalk

Even though schools have been opened for a quarter now, most schools are still facing challenges and question if being in school is worth the risk of spreading COVID-19 over closing or keeping close in-person schools, especially as the flu season is fast approaching.

In the first article that I read, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recognizes the importance of schools in children’s lives. Not only do schools provide children with a safe learning environment, but schools also give students a place to develop social and emotional skills. Schools also help lower class students and families with “key school-supported resources like food programs, special education services, counseling, and after-school programs to meet basic developmental needs” (The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall). The CDC suggests that if schools can safely reopen, with COVID guidelines followed with ample space and masks worn along with other safety precautions.

However, school communities are more than the students themselves, and school and political leaders don’t seem as keen to keep the strict guidelines during school. School communities include the students, teachers, administration, services faculty, and the students’ families at home, all of who are at risk if the school broke out with COVID-19 cases.

In an article from the New York Times, Authors Danna Goldstein and Eliza Shapiro shared that teachers have voiced their concerns about going back to in-person schooling last July. Goldstein and Shapiro conceded that students would have mild if any, symptoms in the chance that they got COVID-19, and the benefits of in-person schooling are great, but it is the adults at school who are the most at risk. They predicted that many schools would lose many teachers and substitutes in fear of COVID or they have other underlying health conditions where they can’t afford any chance. In the article, it was stated that “More than a quarter of public schoolteachers are over the age of 50” (‘I Don’t Want to Go Back’: Many Teachers Are Fearful and Angry Over Pressure to Return), a fact that is largely ignored in this discussion. The article from Goldstein and Shapiro doesn’t only support that going back in-person would be the best option if things were back to normal, it also supports the other side of the argument of pushing for in-school instruction that the school community would be too much at risk and underfunded to properly support safety guidelines.

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