When Did Students, Teachers, and School Staff Become Expendable?

There is no true substitute for effective intentional instructional practices, whether they are delivered face-to-face or virtually. If instruction isn’t effective and intentional, it doesn’t matter how it is delivered.

It is true, as with everything school related, or life really, different things work for different people. Some people thrive in a certain environment, while others struggle. Some students do fine via virtual learning, others need in-person instruction, and others will thrive with a hybrid approach.

What is hard to accept right now, since COVID-19 is getting worse in most states, is these very states saying schools must reopen. Many states appear to be leaving it to local districts to decide what reopening will look like, with guidelines, but not mandates, provided. None that I’ve seen so far require masks by all students in addition to all school staff wearing them.

All students need effective intentional instruction. And, speaking personally, my own high school students thrive better within in-person instruction. With that said, when did students (our children), teachers and school staff (our families) become expendable?

I say expendable because we, as a nation, are very aware of the dangers of COVID-19. We are very aware on how easily it spreads (and now they believe it may be airborne making it even more easily spread). We are well aware of the spikes starting to happen and show no signs of peaking with school openings just a few weeks away. We are well aware wearing a mask allows us to protect one another from getting the virus. We are well aware the virus affects children in different ways than adults, in ways that are quite painful to experience, even deadly. We are also well aware students, especially the younger ones, are not going to wear a mask all day—which they should to protect us all.

When did students, teachers and school staff become expendable?

Do we want our children to receive an effective intentional learning experience? Of course! Does that need to be in large groups in an enclosed building in which it is the honor system for families to not send their children to school sick? Does it need to be on a campus just because that is what we know and think school should be?

When did students, teachers and school staff become expendable?

Schools are not daycare centers, daily childcare, or family respite care and should not be treated as such. Schools are institutions of learning. Yes, families need to be able to get back to work, hopefully when they safely can do so. Yes, schools indirectly help support families being able to be at work. However, the lives of students, teachers, and school staff should not be put at risk, thus putting the community at risk, just to open schools. If childcare is needed, the government should provide the funding, and the safeguards, for this need. However, it should not be on the backs, nor the lives, of children and teachers.

When did students (our children), and teachers and school staff (our families) become expendable?

When?

And why?

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