91 days and counting!

COVID-19 seems to be spreading at record numbers throughout the United States. The number of deaths may rise by the end of the summer by almost nineteen thousand. This number however can be reversed if according to the leading experts we continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Most worrisome right now is the opening of schools. Many districts have established protocols for opening schools. Some have hydrid schedules such as alternating days for face to face and on-line learning. Basically and ultimately parents will have the last word as to how they prefer to continue their children’s education. The debate continues and it is so confusing at times what and who to believe.

As a former educator, I am torn. I believe some children are actually safer at school when we consider possible child abuse cases that sometimes go unreported if not for the intervention of a teacher or school administrator. However, I also dread the fact that many children do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms yet they can spread the disease to others including older and more vulnerable adults like grandparents and even their teachers.

I love technology and all its wonderful advantages but I do not believe that on-line learning can be a long-term especially with younger children. We must not forget the different domains of instruction. These domains were established for educators to follow and to provide guidelines for effective and long-term instruction. We must not forget the affective domain. “The affective domain describes the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another living thing’s pain or joy. Affective objectives typically target the awareness and growth in attitudes, emotion, and feelings” (wiki aricle: Taxonomy of Instructional Objectives).

Another difficult situation is that many lower income children and their families may not have access to the Internet or the devices necessary for on-line learning. We must not forget that some households have different school age children. Another situation that complicates the scene is that parents may be working from home as well. So, how strong is the WiFi signal or the speed in which you can upload and download homework and assignments? No matter what a parent decides in the long run, there may be some regrets unfortunately.

We must remain alert and research what local authorities are doing to make schools safe now. Also, as we move into the flu season, we must learn to differentiate and also prepare our family for possible outbreaks. It is important to act quickly as soon as you suspect a child is sick.

We must also think about the coming years. Many of our school buildings are older, many are dilapidated and should be demolished. The technological infrastructure is not supportive either in many school buildings. I have always advocated for rebuilding, redesigning and creating healthier and safer schools. We need to protect our children from possible violence, cyber-bullying, in addition to now keeping schools cleaner and germ free. I know I am probably making you nervous by now but this is what we need to remediate. The only way to do this is to study and research what future senatorial and congressional candidates are proposing. What are their track records when it comes to education? What policies are they responsible for making? Do they vote for the equitable funding of all schools in all neighborhoods. School board leaders are usually elected. Find out who is running and what their platform is and how it may effect your family. School superintendents are usually appointed by mayors or other officials. Be careful of the ones who are very political and only look to further their careers. Find out who they are and make sure your community and your concerns are addressed. Go to meetings and vote.

This Pandemic has raised many questions about how we do business in our cities and towns. It has raised an awareness about what our politicians are doing to help us through this crisis and more importantly what they are not willing to do. Are they partisan or are they will to compromise and take action?

Parents need to be informed. Working parents need to get the help and assistance they need. We are all in this together. It takes a village, a township, a city, a state, and of course the federal government to take the necessary steps to keep all families safe and healthy.