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The Only Safe Option for Students and Educators Is Virtual Learning

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/17/only-safe-option-students-and-educators-virtual-learning

Correct for areas where internet connections of adequate speed are available at a reasonable price. But note that for large parts of the more rural areas of the US, they AREN’T available.

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This article left out that returning children to school puts their parents and all other family members at risk. We are the after-school caretakers of our 7 year old grandson. We have also taken care of him every weekday since March while his parents go to work. My husband happened to need some help with a repair the other day and found out that this repair person whose children go to our local school is someone who does not believe in wearing masks and refuses to wear one. My husband backed away from using his services. His children and the children of other like minded people could pass the virus on to my grandson and thus to us, in our seventies and both with compromising health conditions. We have been so careful all these months to quarantine ourselves, and always wear masks, see no one except by Zoom, as I’m sure is true for other families. I predict that sending the children back to school too soon will mean a sharp rise in COVID cases and many potential deaths. We will have to stop seeing our grandson and our daughter and son-in-law to keep ourselves safe, which would break our hearts and his, as we are like second parents to him. In addition, as a former teacher, I would certainly not want the responsibility for maintaining the health of all the children in the classroom. Children are no longer used to sitting quietly at their individual desks with their hands folded and mouths closed with no interaction. How are they supposed to eat lunch? One at a time? What about recess? Throwing children back to school before a vaccine is available is reckless for them and those who love them and for the school personnel who will see teaching very differently if they must be afraid for their own families. A year of remote learning or even no school will make very little difference in the long run except to those nearing the end of high school and even they can be evaluated on their most recent grades and work if they are college bound. We are living in a world that is no longer normal. We can’t force it to be normal by putting ourselves in danger. We will just make the situation worse.

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Just another example of the poor taking the brunt of crisis

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Safety includes freedom and privacy as well as health. When schools teach remotely, they shouldn’t make students use software that puts them under the power of companies.
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