Schools in Washington D.C., like many other cities and towns in our country, have been remote learning since mid-April with little information on the learning impact on the kids. There has been a significant amount of fighting between school districts wanting to reopen and teachers unions refusing to come back to work with little discussion about the toll the closures are taking on the kids education and mental health, not to mention the huge strain on working parents trying to manage remote learning.
We now have some information, at least from Washington D.C. elementary schools, confirming our worst fears. According to a report in The Washington Free Beacon literacy assessment results released today show that literacy rates among elementary school students are down dramatically.
“The assessment results show a 22-percent decline in kindergarteners’ meeting benchmark reading goals, and a nine-percent decline for all students from kindergarten to second grade as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And students with learning disabilities and English as a Second Language (ESL) students have fallen even further behind.”
Now Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Public Schools chancellor Lewis Ferebee are in a race to get their kids back in school.
President Trump has been saying for months that we must reopen the schools, including the final debate last night.
“The transmittal rate to the teachers is very small,” he said. “I want to open the schools. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
Recent studies, both international and domestic, have pointed to no significant change in the spread of COVID-19 in K-12 schools.
According to the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard, tracking nearly 2,000 schools across the country, there is appears to be little relationship to onsite learning and the spread of COVID-19.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America gave a briefing on October 14 on safe school reopenings. Their findings: “The data so far are not indicating that schools are a superspreader site,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan’s medical school.
Do you think schools should reopen fully?
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Reopening schools is controversial for sure but it is essential. The risk to our children in education, mental health and general well being is too great to stay shutdown. It is time to reopen for the sake of our kids and the future of our country.