It is ridiculous, if not hypocritical, that students in the Greenville Public School District are being told they can’t play sports come spring, especially following a season where football was allowed to take place.
I’m personally not much of a sports fan, but I respect it for what it is and I understand the many benefits it gives to the children who play them.
What I find even more outrageous, however, is the fact that GPSD and Head Start students still aren’t in the classroom.
In just a couple months, we will have reached the one-year anniversary of these students attempting to learn from home.
I’m glad virtual learning was a possibility during those first few months of scary and uncertain times when the pandemic broke out, but it’s beyond time to move on.
What exactly is preventing GPSD and Head Start from bringing the students back?
By this point, with everything we have learned, fear of the virus should not be the reason.
Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) isn’t telling us to keep our children cooped up all day at home while staring at a computer monitor.
Remote learning has its place, but certainly not for children, especially those in elementary and preschool.
Small children have extremely limited attention spans and expecting a 5-year-old to sit and watch a computer screen for six and seven hours a day, five days a week, is ludicrous.
The CDC website, cdc.gov., states: “Opening schools for in-person learning as safely and quickly as possible, and keeping them open, is important given the many known and established benefits of in-person learning.”
The CDC isn’t saying keep the children out indefinitely. They said we need to formulate a plan, and quickly, for bringing them back for in-person learning.
While yes, the CDC also acknowledges there is a chance children and teachers could possibly contract the virus at school, the same applies to any place.
The CDC says to expect cases of COVID to occur in school so that school officials are prepared with a plan of action to respond appropriately when that time comes.
But continue keeping them at home? Absolutely not.
No matter what any of us do, there is no escaping the virus. It’s here, it’s everywhere.
In fact, you’re more likely to contract the virus at restaurants and the grocery store, which people seem to have accepted doing with no major qualms.
The students aren’t any safer at home than they would be in a school building.
In fact, CDC Director Robert Redfield said schools are the best place to be for children because it’s not the people in K-12 schools that are having severe challenges with COVID.
Small children don’t seem to contract COVID-19 very much, don’t get very sick if they do, and don’t spread it much, either.
Older people, on the other hand, do both. In nursing homes, it is elderly people who often have underlying conditions who don’t cope well.
With all of the valuable resources given and information we have learned over the course of the past year, I don’t understand why the Greenville Pubic School District and Head Start have continued their same course.
Though they should have already opened by now, it’s time to seriously examine how other school districts throughout the nation, including in our own state and county, are handling having students back in the classroom.
Being in a classroom is not just beneficial, it is absolutely critical.
Our youth need socialization. They need a teacher’s direction. They need to get out of the home.
There are many children who already struggle to keep up with their classmates at school, and you can be sure they’ll be that much further behind by the time they finally return.
Not only is it important academically for students to be in school, but it’s also beneficial for their mental and physical well-being.
I have spoken with teachers who are deeply concerned for some of their students because they know they are being abused at home. For those abused children, school was their only escape during the day and now they have to endure it 24/7.
I should say after almost a year of dealing with this pandemic and witnessing how other schools have been operating with success, GPSD and Head Start should have this figured out by now.
But they haven’t.
The time that should have been spent creating a plan to bring children back to the classroom seems to have been spent focusing on ways to keep them at home longer.
Just this week, we reported on mobile hotspots GPSD has been installing in students’ homes and the mobile hotspot buses that are being parked throughout the community so children can have better internet access.
Better internet access is not the solution.
Please, for the students’ sake, get them back in school.
Catherine Kirk is the managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.