N3 polls our readers
What to do about school?
Since the initial closure in Mid-March the question has hovered over school systems throughout the country and more importantly here in our fair county.
When our local superintendents put out a news release in our pages recently that, in part, offered virtual learning to all students we wanted to ask our readers which option they might choose if school were to start in the next few days.
Note: This survey is exceedingly unscientific and conjectural at best and based solely on the opinions expressed by the readers who participated. There were attempts (for whatever reason) to ‘stack the numbers’ and while we intervened in some of these endeavors we may have missed some as well.
Out of the 100 responses received 53 opted for In School with 46 going for Virtual and one that indicated non virtual homeschooling.
But our interest goes beyond the numbers and more to the comments accompanying some of the votes. They hopefully give us an inside look at what issues parents are struggling with as this whole new world of education begins.
We broke down the comments into sections and while the replies spill over a bit we tried to categorize them according to primary concern. The option they selected is identified by an S for In School and V for Virtual.
S-My children need that student to teacher learning otherwise they just can't do it on their own. they don't understand some of the work/problems and as I am a grandmother/guardian of my children I also don't always understand the questions/problems that need to be finished. and --my children WANT to go back to school and be taught by a teacher.
S-I feel that in person school is NECESSARY for our children academically, socially & emotionally. I feel that it is a very important & vital decision to return to in person schooling for our children & their futures.
S-My kids (2nd and 10th grade) are both needing more human interaction with their friends as they have been pretty much quarantined since March.
S-Children need to be in school face to face with others. School is a “safe place” for many and I am concerned about these children. Teachers are the experts, kids need to be in school learning and growing!
S-My daughter has special needs and it takes her longer to do one subject at home or one assignment at home then in person...she needs the socializing of school also and to see her peers and her teachers. She misses school and loves going and she enjoys her classes even if it’s a struggle for her at times.
S-My daughter needs the social aspect of school as well as academics. She also performs better with books, paper, pencil, activities versus a screen. School age children are not high risk and as long as staff and students don’t come to school sick, I believe there is a low risk of contracting Covid 19. The slight risks outweigh the positives of attending school.
S-Our children need that peer to peer interaction with their friends. They also need that classroom setting to learn. We tried distance learning from March thru June and that was a struggle in itself.
S-My child is in special education. He’d benefit more being in person.
S-Our student will be a junior in high school. Children are social beings. They learn to be good citizens by interacting with other children....they learn social skills. When the school was shut down, our son said numerous times that he required face to face instruction and the interaction with the teacher. He has a sport for which he trains year round. We are hoping to have that sport....it has also taught him much about perseverance, work ethic, teamwork, leadership, etc. I cannot allow my fear to overwhelm our child and create fear in him.
S-With the assumption that my elementary children will NOT be wearing masks.
S-Without masks! My teenagers would struggle greatly if they were to try to learn anything online, they are basically having to just read and teach themselves. Some would do okay but most would struggle greatly. All would benefit from being in their traditional school setting, by which I mean the same setting and set up as it has been in the past. Kids also need to be with their peers, to mature and grow socially. This needs to be done without masks, if there are families uncomfortable with sending their children to attend school offer an online option but don’t punish the ones who would like to return to normal.
V-Mask and social distancing restrictions will hinder providing students with a healthy and enriching learning environment.
V-Disagree with the strict rules on the school and classrooms and don’t want to require my kids to wear masks and such.
S-I don’t feel that the kids should be forced to wear a mask all day while they are at school. We can barely breathe in them and it is harmful to breathe in your own toxins. Also, I feel if they have to eat their lunches in the classrooms and not socialize with their friends, what’s the sense?
V-Too many unknowns, why would I risk my child getting sick and bringing it home?
V-With no social distancing, classrooms are not safe for kids or staff.
V-I don't feel the school districts are equipped to keep children from becoming infected with Covid-19.
V-Everything is so unknown. It just seems like the best choice for now.
V-The career tech center couldn't hold classes with 7 girls in it without one of them exposing it to the girls and putting us in quarantine.
S-I’m not very comfortable with it but I am willing to go with this choice for now. Could change based on numbers locally over the next month. I am hoping kids take this seriously and don’t put each other at risk. Regardless of the views of their parents, kids should know that continuing in person learning depends, to a great extent, on their behavior.
S-Due to the scientific data of many countries who have used common sense models in their schools with virtually no uptick in cases from or to students in school, I feel comfortable- using common sense- sending children back to school.
S-I am a full time working parent as well as my husband. I feel he will not get the education he needs if left to do it here by himself unless daily communication is a must in which teachers are able to communicate after hours when working parents get home.
S-It’s my grandchildren, but they desperately want to get back to school and I think they learn better there plus it’s better for them socially. And working parents just don’t have the ability to help kids learn everything they need to with online classes.
S-My husband and I both work full time. We are not able to homeschool.
V-I would need to know if a child needs to be logged on at certain times or just complete the education. This makes a big difference to our family as we have jobs
I have long believed the day when virtual learning would be the norm was coming, based on discussions with my grandchildren. I think the pandemic has merely accelerated a process that was already started, and when the cost effectiveness becomes apparent, and availability becomes more widespread, technical issues resolved, and the idea communities could take over extracurriculars like band, sports etc that day is nearly upon us now.
As of today, our plan is virtual learning for our elementary children. I really, really want them to return to school, but I want them to be able to be kids in the classroom, and have the opportunity to connect with their teachers and classmates. Thank you to all of the teachers that have gone far above and beyond during this experience!!
I would be okay with limited in person and the rest virtual but if the options are totally in person and totally virtual I would go virtual.
Eventually the school will have to be shut down anyway so let’s just do the first semester online.
I want some kind of consistency for my kids and I feel I can manage that better at home than in school with too many difficult to follow guidelines.
It definitely depends on what both options entail. It’s hard to say without knowing the specific details of both options, but at this point we are leaning towards virtual.
OTHER IN SCHOOL
My child does better with in person instruction… I’m working full-time from home right now and wouldn’t no way be able to help her focus on school. It would be a disservice to her to have virtual learning. She will only be in kindergarten as well as in the Spanish immersion program. I think that is an essential year for her to be provided within person instruction. My three-year-old was going to do the outdoor nature center preschool. Both kids attend day care right now and neither are required to wear masks. There have been no concerns or issues at the daycare at this point. I’m confused as to how it could be that different from the school if appropriate precautions and handwashing are taken.
We have eagerly been waiting to see what this year will look like for our 1st and 5th grader. We are hoping that recess will still be an option as well as PE and arts/music.
I have four children who are very far spread apart. It is very difficult to attempt to teach a senior, 7th grader, 3rd grader.
Other feedback can be found in the comments section of the survey article
One of those seemed to capture much of the mood surrounding the upcoming year.
"It’s a gut wrenching decision. I want my daughter to have the MUCH needed interactions, however, I also want her safe (I know the districts are going above, and beyond to ensure safety), it’s all of the unknowns at this time."
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