Letter: Schools need coherent plan for reopening

Graphic by Lori Deaton

If our schools are going to reopen in some sort of “normal” fashion, we need to have a coherent plan. Many parents are very reasonably concerned about the health of their children and then of whatever viruses the kids might bring home. Estimations are clearly guesses, but fewer contacts offer self-evidently lower odds.

One idea regarding reschooling stands out. At present, all teaching is online. What if we began to reschool kids in stages?

In Australia, schools are admitting students in quarters, one-fourth each day each week. Other countries are in step. One idea is to have half the students on campus half of each week. Locally, we might do this with Group A on campus Monday and Tuesday, Group B on Thursday and Friday. This cuts classroom attendance in half and permits alternating online connections with a teacher.

Asheville and Buncombe parents and students need assurance that a return to classrooms will be well-managed and safe.

The school systems should be promoting public discussion of possible plans now, before school registrations begin, or students might very reasonably stay home.

— Cecil Bothwell


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One thought on “Letter: Schools need coherent plan for reopening

  1. george bazley

    I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and viewpoint. It seems especially paramount right now to secure safety in the public school sector, as that environment is notoriously credited with being the perfect breeding ground for the incidence and flourishing of disease; let’s face it, minors, especially younger children, are simply not equipped to follow strict personal distancing mandates and school grounds are dully credited as places where sickness is easily spread. This concept, of course, extends to colleges and universities, though in what capacity and to what degree remains yet unknown. I believe, also, this aforementioned, younger demographic is often a base line of sorts, from which we can read (though not always as with this case, as is apparent with the existence and perhaps even preponderance of “silent carriers”) the projected fate of the larger population. If we miscalculate in regards to general safety and precaution exercised in our educational proceedings, it could easily spell disaster, d-i-a-s-t-e-r, disaster -for us all that could have otherwise been avoided had we simply stepped back and assessed the situation more prudently. The over-politicized, fear/pressure-driven and vastly premature enactment of phase 1 and the corresponding rise in morbid as well as pre-morbid infection rates, hopefully, will be enough to demonstrate how far hasty, unrestrained reintegration of civil norms will get us. America, as bountiful, industrious, and beautiful as she is, generally, and understandably, is not a nation of hesitation or delayed gratification; but, if there was ever, now seems the time for America to wait. As long as our overall, morbid statistics are on the rise, it would be hasty and foolish to even consider having anyone step foot in a classroom at the present time, even if it were in incremented, staggered sessions. A group of kids still constitutes a group of people in the midst of a rapidly spreading pandemic and is tantamount to a colossal petri dish. Until, at the very least, these alarming statistics begin to flare down, I would think the obvious course of action would be to continue in the way of online education, as limited as it is with all its inherent shortcomings. This approach, of course, has it’s own socio-economical ramifications, which, I think, can still be dealt with through community support and divergent, innovative, adaptive thinking patterns and stratagems. Of course, our youth needs a proper, integrated education with a strong, guiding human element, and, of course, people need to work in order to put food on the table, but, at the worst, you don’t get to be ignorant, broke, or hungry when you’re dead. A dead hero’s seat at the table is saved for only so long. Mr. Bothwell’s letter makes a valid, vital point; we need to proactively open discourse and deliberation in regards to these crucial matters before our rightful voice is lost amidst a buzzing of bureaucratic meanderings. It would be great, and speak volumes in the way of civic service, to have any and all relevant forums listed and publicly promoted by our local media sources.

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