The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

Back to School Now?

on July 9, 2020

As we get very close to the time when public schools will open again, I can’t stop being concerned about the health of students and teachers. What I hear every day is that a dangerous virus is still active all over the country with some states in much worse shape than others.

Because the danger of having people close together is still strong in this country, there are things we shouldn’t do in many places. For example, older people who live at the “Watermark” in Philadelphia were told that although we are now able to leave our apartments, we shouldent get together in groups for meals or any other large events in our building. So now, big food tables in the main dining room will seat just two people. It certainly looks like dining won’t be the party it was before the virus arrived. Actually, it won’t be normal anywhere else in the building for a while.

When I found out that some of our states had announced they will open their schools this fall, I was amazed and wondered how they planned to do it safely. Even if the classrooms have fewer students, the virus will still be with some of them. And if students are sitting farther apart and wearing masks, they may still be moving around there classroom, sharing books, papers, or pencils, and also touching each other’s hands and bodies.

I also doubt that face masks will stay on anyone for a whole school day. If a student need’s to speak to a partner while working, it be may very difficult. So he will end up pushing his mask aside. On top of that it will be even harder for anyone to understand the teacher. Frankly, I don’t see how the speech needed for teaching and learning will be safe in today’s schools if anyone still comes there carrying the virus.

Instead of having students go back to school I think it would be better for them to learn at home while their teachers work with them over the internet. Until the virus is well under control it would be much safer for students, teachers, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, aides or everyone else involved in education–and their families– to be at home. Yes,teaching in homes will be more difficult than in classroom. But the health and safety of everyone warrants this trade-off.

When I first heard that some states claimed they could safely provide a good learning environment in our schools, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If I’m wrong please try to persuade me to change my view. If others are right and our children really can go back to school safely, I will be the happiest person in the world.

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