Send children back to the classroom this fall, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. This group of pediatricians “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
Why the push amidst concerns over kids spreading the coronavirus?
The AAP says that “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being.” The nation’s pediatricians argue that remote learning can actually be detrimental to our children’s health, that it can in fact result in severe learning loss and social isolation.
In addition to leading to physical health issues, social isolation can also cause emotional problems like depression and suicidal ideation. It can even lead to sexual abuse.
The AAP does recommend that a number of precautions be taken at school, such as physical distancing and disinfection. However, it says that if physical distancing isn’t possible, schools should “weigh the benefits of strict adherence to a 6-feet spacing rule between students with the potential downside if remote learning is the only alternative.”
What Do Parents Think?
A Speak UP survey involving hundreds of Los Angeles Unified School District parents asked members what they saw as the most pressing issues for children returning to their schools this fall.
First and foremost, parents said they want to be included in the decision-making process regarding school re-openings. They want additional technology training for both parents and teachers, and they want their kids to get teacher feedback and daily live instruction when learning from home.
LAUSD parents disagree with the AAP on students returning to schools, however. Nearly all of the surveyed parents said they want to keep schools closed “until COVID-19 risks can be mitigated.” According to Speak UP, most families would prefer to “deal with the difficulties of at-home learning than potentially expose their family to infection.”
Adriana Ruiz, one of the surveyed parents, said she would love for her kids to return to school with their friends, but she’s not comfortable sending them back yet.
“I have mixed emotions,” she said. “I think there are a lot of things that need to be put in order, and we parents need to be part of that process.”