The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of life, and as the 2020-2021 school year approaches, schools all over the nation are making important decisions that have the power to impact the lives of millions of students. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD, the second largest school district in the country, teachers, students, and parents have been weighing in on what the following school year should look like.
Because the pandemic’s numbers have not been decreasing in the United States, schools have been hit with the choice of either reopening or continuing to teach online. The main options that schools are looking at are full online schooling, full reopening, or optional hybrid scheduling. Online schooling has been conducted since March for most schools, with students using platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom to attend their classes. In hybrid scheduling, students attend in-person classes part time, and the other portion of their work is done online. This type of scheduling allows students to learn at school for smaller periods of time than they normall would, minimizing contact. Reopening schools for a district as large as LAUSD is difficult because the virus spreads best with larger numbers.
A high school math teacher, and parent of a student, from LAUSD (who has decided to remain anonymous), shared her opinion on schools reopening. She stated, “Safety comes first. Reopening schools does not affect the health of just students, but also teachers and families. It’s harder for younger students, especially, to safely social distance and maintain hygiene. Even though students are younger and may not experience bad symptoms if they catch the virus, they live with family members that are at higher risk. So preventing the spread of the virus is important.”. She stressed the importance of being safe and putting health first.
The high school math teacher also looked at the situation from the perspective of a parent, stating, “One of the reasons that parents want their children to go to school is because of the quality of learning. But there are larger issues than quality of education. Helping students isn’t just up to the teachers in the midst of a pandemic. Teachers can only spend so much time trying to teach students online. Students need to take online schooling seriously and parents need to be dedicated. Online learning should be taken as seriously as being at school. Students and parents need to have a mindset to maintain their education.”
Reopening schools is an important discussion for school districts, but maintaining online learning and quality of education is equally important for students that are staying at home. Being able to stay safe while learning is the ultimate goal.