Thoughts on: School Reopening (devil's advocate)
I'm very sorry that I didn't have a blog post last week but it was a transition week that I started school which is very strange because my school basically had the business students stay home and I decided to do more classes than I normally do so I can start my minors (I want to do two minors). It's better for me to take 7 classes now because I save time in comparison to going to school. Waking up, getting dressed, and taking public transportation to and from adds up to a lot of lost time. Schools running like this has it's pros and cons, but schools reopening has been a hot topic for weeks.
Two weeks ago, I was telling my friends a story and I said something along the lines that my mom has to get used to going outside again because her job is requiring her to go back in September. That one line sparked a conversation and moments after I saw on snap stories that Prince EA did a video saying "before you go back to school watch this" which basically was his ideas for what schools should do instead of what they are planning. With back to school season being among us, a question keeps circulating about whether or not school reopenings are a good idea. I haven't seen many posts like this so I wanted to play devil's advocate and list out the pros and cons for school reopening because I took those things as a sign that this should be something that I talk about.
Before I start, I want to include that I am not really on either side because the situation itself is really complicated and I know there is no way to please everyone in this. I know this is a controversial topic but I wanted to layout both arguments clearly.
Pros for school reopening
1. Helps kids with learning disabilities and language barriers
This one was the first thing that came to mind when coming up with the list because I feel like this is one a lot of people forget about when discussing school reopening. School being reopened provide an education for children with learning disabilities such as if a child has dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Dyscalculia, etc. Many people don’t think of this if they didn‘t have a learning disability or a child with one. Also as a New Yorker, it is very common to meet people that speak another language as their first language. I remember especially as a child I was in the Spanish-English classes because my mom wanted me to learn another language but there were kids in that class who were learning to speak English because their family was from somewhere else. Language barriers make it difficult to learn which is why school helps them. Children with any type of barrier to learning need that kind of one-on-one attention because a lot of times parents are not suited to teach them.
2. Helps parent who is essential works
People who were essential workers were struggling the most at this time because unlike other jobs they can’t work from home. People like doctors, nurses, mail deliver, sanitary workers, etc. can't just avoid going in and a lot of them may have small children. While some have spouses that can handle the parenting portions of responsibilities if they have jobs where they can work from home, not everyone has that luxury. Some may be single parents because they were widowed, left or some form of event occurred. Finding a family you can rely on to watch them is usually difficult because everyone has their own concerns answer honestly some people don’t have a good relationship with their family. So then they would have to find a baby sitter which is an added expense. Schools help essential workers to work out a schedule between being a parent and being a worker to provide for their children.
3. Provides resources for the less fortunate children
With schools being online, it makes back to schools supplies more expensive. Schools are a place the provides the resources a kid needs because not everyone can afford access to technology and libraries are limited now as well. Some communities don‘t even have libraries so the school library was their main space to do their work. Additionally, some students come from families who may have lost their job and are homeless. Even students who aren’t homeless can rely on schools for their source of meals due to their parents not making enough money to keep a roof over their heads and do the other necessary things. A person once told me “they would rather starve than lose their home even” though both are a basic need for survival. Covid-19 caused a rise in job losses and more people have turned to food banks as a way to provide but with the factor of so many losses and some people just taking what is free even if they don’t need it, it’s been a lot harder to get food.
4. It's more efficient for their work ethic
At home, there are too many distractions because there is easy access to things such as their phones and TVs. Older kids may be able to work through those directions on their own (although realistically they probably text through classes) but younger children who are just really starting an education aren’t getting the full benefits of learning because they are still are at an impressionable age. If they see their older sibling on their phone during courses, they probably won’t see why it’s not okay to use iPads to play games. Personally I couldn’t imagine having to do online school in elementary school because we weren't introduced to using tech for all our assignments until middle school. In my personal experience, doing elementary school in person formed how I worked as I got older and why I am able to just do my assignments without waiting until the last minute. I also can put my phone aside so I can focus.
5. Makes it easier for students from other states
This one is more about college students. I go to a school where a lot of people are from out of state or international. I once had a 9:00 AM class and one girl was from California so every time we had class it was 3 am for her. It seems like a huge adjustment because of time differences so school reopening would be beneficial so that people from other places wouldn’t suffer to get an education or health suffers. Sleep is very important and sometimes when they return home they have to do things like work part-time in order to pay bills. Having classes at random times throws off people's schedules.
6. Provides jobs and has economic value
When people think of schools, they mostly think of teachers but there are so many other types of workers that make the school function. School aides, school librarians, school safety officers, custodians are just to name a few but can those jobs exist without schools being open? Most likely not because their jobs are more hands-on in comparison to a teacher because teachers do a lot of work to up with lesson plans but lessons can be taught from online through google classroom, zoom, etc. With that being said, if schools were to remain closed there would be a huge amount of layoffs. These lay-offs can cause a surge in the homeless population because there is not enough federal funding to provide for every worker who technically can't do anything if there are no children.
Cons for Schools reopening
1. It's difficult to keep order
As a student, I can student say that teachers had it rough because up to at least 10th-grade people still behaved immaturely. If 15-year-olds to 16-year-olds still had behavioral issues, it will be more difficult to keep order in the classroom of kids below that age especially new children entering education like 3K and pre-k. Kids are a lot more impulsive and are still learning right from wrong. They won't understand why they have to keep their mask on and for the fact some adults don't believe in masks and teach their children the same thing it would very difficult to keep a check on everyone. The student to teacher ratio is often 20-30 kids to 1, sometimes 2 teachers depending on the class. The teacher is outnumbered and can't give attention to every kid.
2. Some people have to travel to school through public/ community transportations
Being from an urban area I grew up taking transportation everywhere from a young age. When it got to a point where my mom couldn’t take me, I took the yellow bus up until high school. As a high schooler, I saw parents taking their kids to school every day on the bus. While yes public transportation is trying to make adjustments to make sure people are being safe and following guidelines, it’s still not enough. Taking public transportation is a very small space where people are going in and out and they don’t clean it until they reach a terminal but all those other times in between there could be many germs on surface areas such as the poles and on the seats.
3. Lack of funding
It’s not uncommon knowledge that schools lack funding. That is why teachers have to buy a lot of their own supplies. So when it comes back to school during Covid-19, there will be not enough money to make sure that it is safe. Teachers probably have to buy their own thermometers to check temperatures because the school won't have enough to provide for every single teacher. Additionally many times the school lack on keeping things up to date, some schools don’t even have working soap dispensers. Washing your hands is essential to not get sick.
4. Puts people at risk for a wave
There isn't being enough done to protect families. Teachers prior to COVID-19 saw multiple students a day. Each teacher is specialized in a certain area of teaching. So because of that and because of how much moving around and interaction it will be with many different students, it puts the teachers at risk to get sick and also spread it to their own families as well. Teachers don't get paid enough to be put in that type of position. Also, people tend to forget even though kids aren't high risk, it doesn't mean they are immune and kids still have a chance of being infected and spreading to their families. On top of that, with Covid-19 still being risky during flu season we don't know what can happen.
5. There are many unanswered questions
The more we start to normalize our past interactions and habits, the more we put ourselves at risk. Currently, many places lack a structural plan that allows parents and students to feel secure going back. There have been many unanswered questions such as: How fast will parents be informed of an outbreak? Will student's school schedule change in order for them to get their temperatures checked? How will interactive courses like PE be remodeled? How will classrooms be clean between periods? What precautions will take to make sure kids apply to social distancing rules?
6. School structures aren't up to code
When I say school structures aren’t up to code, I am referring to the structure of the building. In most schools, the windows cannot open which causes a lack of ventilation. Most of the classrooms are overcrowded with 20 to 30 students in a class. If windows can't open so air can circulate, people will get sick because there is no space for people not to share the same germs. Staying in a small space with no air circulating for 5- 6 hours a day is unsafe.
So these are my arguments for both sides, I know I probably missed some points so be sure to comment on any points that I missed or how you feel about schools reopening. Please note this is just a perspective piece where I collected arguments for both sides, so of course, I'm not going to cover everything and I understand all sides so I tried to make this as unbiased as possible. Please share this post if you enjoyed it or if you found it eye-opening in any way. Have a good day, evening, or night and stay healthy and safe.
I hope you'll come back next Saturday for more content.
Until next time,
xoxo Lay 💋
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