Please Listen to Teachers: It’s Not Safe to Go Back to School Yet

Jul 13, 2020

I have been sensing that maybe the American public is being kept in the dark about certain things regarding this pandemic. I’m not sure this is it, but the Twitter thread below sure stopped me in my tracks.

Lawrence Gostin, the director of the WHO Center on Public Health and Human Rights, believes we will not have a semblance of normalcy until summer 2022. I wasn’t expecting that. He reminds us all that, “Mother nature has unleashed a major force that we don’t fully understand.”

Why isn’t this in the news? How do we live until this pandemic is a thing of the past? What do we do about educating children? One thing I do know for sure is this: We cannot send children, teachers and school staff into buildings and classrooms while not knowing what the experts know.

I have never been a fan of cyberlearning in lieu of in-person learning, except in specific circumstances. A global pandemic is the perfect time to give it a go. Ed tech companies can play an important part in improving the online experience for our children. Nothing can be more important with COVID-19 at each of our doorsteps. We must be ethical and rely on science as we try to help our communities stay healthy and alive.

When the director of the WHO Center on Public Health and Human Rights, who happens to also be a chaired professor of global health law at Georgetown Law, tells us that summer of 2022 is his best estimate of when our lives may resemble anything considered normal, we should listen to him.

Yes, the economy matters. That said, let’s put our minds together and figure out how to carry on as this pandemic waxes and wanes over the next couple of years.

You know who needs a voice in this conversation? Teachers.

I agree with the tweet above from Chicago public school teacher Dave Stieber. We can’t rely on wishful thinking, and we certainly cannot trust the U.S. Secretary of Education. Please trust the teachers. When we enter the classroom we know we are in loco parentis. In effect, the schools act in place of the parent or instead of the parent. We should be protecting your kids the way we would protect our own.

When children enter the school building, we assume custody of students and, at the same time, the students are deprived of the protection of their parents.

We want to keep your children and your family as safe as possible, just like we do with our own. Let’s stop attacking one another on social media and help each other figure out how to improve online learning until it is safe to return to school in person. We can do this.

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