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THE CRC: REOPENING OF SCHOOLS


THE CRC


As the summer nears its midpoint, many states need to address how the education of our youth will take place in the face of the continued risk of Covid-19 and the potential for a resurgence. 

The competing lines of thought are on one side keep schools closed until a vaccine or treatment is discovered, while the other side calls for reopening schools because the risk to youths is statistically insignificant, compared to the harm to their education. 

While there are reports of progress towards a vaccine and treatment options, there is no guarantee that these come to fruition any time soon. One can expect setbacks and obstacles that will prolong the development timeline. 

In the meantime, society cannot simply wait out Covid-19 like it is a fad that will simply go away. Policymakers can work with stakeholders to find solutions to bridge the gap and ensure our youth do not fall behind. 

One can reasonably question the suitability of remote learning. Many children have the technology, experience, and environments to adapt quickly. For others, the school setting is vital. 

A reality for some is that their home environment is not conducive for learning new concepts that may have long lasting impact on their future employability. Too many distractions or simply the quality of life in these environments are not adequate. 

Some subjects are almost impossible to learn in a remote environment. Courses requiring specialized equipment or access to regulated chemicals require the school setting for access and instruction. 

Another issue to consider is how keeping children home is impacting the economic condition of these households. The impact is also spread around the community, if no adequate or affordable childcare options are available. 

While the risk for Covid-19 is low for children and teens, one must consider that these students may have family members in their households that are high risk. Some children are raised by grandparents. 

There needs to be calculated efforts to return towards some level of normalcy in responsible methods. The head in the sand approach is neither a strategy nor a useful plan.

A reasonable accommodation may be for schools to blend both remote learning and onsite instruction, where the total number of students on campus is lower than normal. 

Our youth need to be educated. Issues in the near term should not create institutionalized long-term problems.