K-12 Education

In-school Instruction Should Wait Until It Is Absolutely Safe

September 3, 2020  • Terrell Brown, James Campbell, Katherine King, Geri Kinlaw, Jessica Lazenby & Erin Rigot

As teachers with decades of combined classroom experience, we would like to share our thoughts, concerns, and questions related to the re-opening of in-person school. We know that a school building is where many students find safety, support from peers and adults, structure, guidance, and a healthy meal. We know that by physically seeing our students each day, we can monitor for potential issues occurring elsewhere. However, we believe that returning to school too soon will do more harm than good.

We all have experienced the excitement of the first surprise snowfall of the school year. Chaos, elation, and anticipation of an early dismissal ensue as students begin to squeal, run to windows, and plan to be home for the next few days.

Now, try to envision with us what will happen while students and teachers are worried about an invisible virus, throughout an 8-hour day. Although they won’t be able to see the virus like the snow, it will be on their mind. Attempts to learn will be consumed with the uncertain, disrupting nature of this pandemic.

This is why we believe that any in-person school should not happen until it is absolutely safe. The unknown is powerful for disrupting learning.

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