Zackary Wilensky/Staff reporter
Should students be pushed back into classrooms with such little time left in the school year? It seems that this could cause more problems than benefits. Starting June 1, students from kindergarten to grade 12 will be allowed back in school with a limited number of classmates. The schools are allowing 50 percent of elementary students back in the classroom at one time and 20 percent for middle and high school students.
The return to school is on a voluntary basis. If one doesn’t feel comfortable going back, the students are not obligated to attend. Additionally, the students can’t be penalized for staying at home and continuing online learning. The teachers will be at school every day except for one to continue with online learning.
With the resumption of in-class instruction, there are a lot of questions that currently no one appears to have answers for. Teachers have created schedules for online learning but now that is all subject to change. How will teaching continue online if teachers are at school four days a week? Will the teachers teach the same lesson multiple times a week? Will the teachers have to work longer hours to accommodate this new schedule?
All of this is very unproductive. Most students have been getting a consistent two to three lessons a week with the current system. With the new changes this has the potential to drop to one per week. This isn’t a good idea when there are only three more weeks of school as of June 1. Changes this late in the school year are adding to student’s anxiety. Students were already worried they were not receiving enough teaching to prepare them for next years courses. If these changes take the students to one class per week students are worried they will fall even further behind. Some students are worried they might need to take summer classes to catch up.
There are some groups who will benefit from the option of going back to school. If students have a rough time at home with family issues this will be an opportunity for them to get out of the house for part of the day. Students who are struggling with self-isolation for this long period of time will also benefit from the social interactions resumption of in-class instruction will provide. The students and teachers just need to make sure that social distancing is always happening within the school.
The policy to resume in-class learning does not have to be the same for all grade levels. The benefits of returning to school for younger students in elementary schools would be different than high school students. The younger age groups will have needed more help at home from parents to use the online learning they are currently receiving. With parents returning to work or struggling to balance working from home and helping their kids with online learning this could provide some relief. High school students are more independent and don’t require the same policies as the elementary schools.
The schools should just wait for September in hope for full classrooms again. If there was more time in the year it would make sense to go back. Students may only get three classroom sessions for the rest of this year if they go back once a week.
The risk of potentially exposing more students and their families to the virus when school will be out so soon far exceeds any benefits. Additionally, students could have their learning time decreased further under this change. It is unproductive at this point in time to try and start a new system when the one in place works for a majority of students.