School Reopening – A Do or Don’t?

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Education is essential to a good career, but during a time of crisis like COVID-19, are we really prepared to risk our children’s lives so they can enter a classroom? Photo Credits: Think Inclusive

Renee Bakare

Since the beginning of human creation, there have always been things to do, dreams to achieve, and plans to carry out. Some have plans to join the army or become doctors, but nevertheless, there is something that comes before humans are able to experience these aspirations. They require an education, and whether or not said education is thirteen, seventeen, or twenty years long, the majority of people spend at least twelve years in elementary, middle, and high school. It is obvious that education is an integral part of our society today, so when unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19 come into play it is extremely hard to decide how to move forward.

President Trump is pushing for schools to be reopened for the 2020-2021 school year, but is that in the best interest of US citizens? He believes that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, has put out guidelines that are too tough and expensive to follow. The guidelines in question mention proper cleaning and sanitation practices for schools and what to do in the event of an outbreak. Understandably, accurately cleaning an entire school would be strenuous and tiresome, but in order for children to go back to an active learning environment, is that not what needs to be done?

Online learning is an alternative that a large number of students have experienced in the past several months and allows safe quarantine practices and a way to continue their education. Many teachers and parents are against online learning because of the inability to properly teach and the availability to cheat. However, there are teachers who encourage online learning. They may not believe that it provides the strongest learning experience, but they do believe it is the safest option. A Florida teacher named Christy Karwatt is terrified to step foot into her school this upcoming school year. She, like many others, is of higher risk to contract the Coronavirus and experience fatal consequences. Is America as a nation ready to risk countless educators’ lives in order to teach the next generation?

Photo Credits: Lev Dogachov

Schools not only benefit children, but they also benefit parents in the workforce that are unable to provide for their kids while at home. Many schools offer free meals and act as a form of childcare, in addition to an education provider, for parents who work all day and might not otherwise be able to afford it. With schools not in session, how will the children be taken care of? According to the School Nutrition Association, annually about one hundred thousand schools serve 20.2 million free school lunches and around ninety thousand schools serve 11.77 million free school breakfasts collectively. This means that with online learning, about 20 million kids will not have lunch to eat and more than half of these kids also will not be eating breakfast. There is no way to know how many of these children are not eating dinner, but if so many families depend on schools to feed their children on a regular basis then how can schools not reopen?

To provide an answer to the question, to open schools or to not open schools, numerous variables come into play. How many cases are in each state, what will maximum capacity be, will children obey social distancing, etc. One individual can not decide for an entire country or even an entire state. A decision such as this requires meticulous thought and the opinion of the people. Whether schools reopen this fall is still up for question, but whatever is determined will either make or break the COVID-19 situation in America.

 

References:

 

CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/13/us/coronavirus-cdc-schools-reopen-guidelines/index.html)

 

CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html)

 

CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html)


SNA (https://schoolnutrition.org/aboutschoolmeals/schoolmealtrendsstats/#:~:text=Participation%2C%20Meals%20Served%20and%20Program%20Cost,-National%20School%20Lunch&text=Nearly%20100%2C000%20schools%2Finstitutions%20serve,20.2%20million%20free%20lunches)

 

USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/07/09/covid-school-reopening-teachers-health/5403160002/)