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Parents face dilemma as US schools seek to reopen

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With the start of the US school year only weeks away, Marina Avalos still has no idea how or where her 7-year-old daughter will attend classes.

Like many mothers, Avalos is reluctant to send her child back to school at a time when coronavirus across the country has surged past three million cases, including 130,000 deaths.

On Tuesday, California — where she lives — set a new daily cases record, with 11,694 infections.

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“The whole situation is making me very nervous,” said Avalos, 46. “I don’t feel safe sending my daughter back in to school like before.”

Despite evidence children are less vulnerable, the fear of classroom contagion is shared by many parents, who suspect younger pupils will particularly struggle to socially distance or wear uncomfortable masks for hours.

Yet many are also desperate for their sons and daughters to return, whether for financial reasons as they plan to go back to work, or out of fear that their children’s education will be seriously damaged by months away from the classroom.

This conflict has spilled into the political arena too, with President Donald Trump this week vowing to open schools “quickly, beautifully, in the fall.”

But California governor Gavin Newsom has insisted that schools must only open when it is safe to do so.

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“That to me is not negotiable,” he said.

– ‘Polarization of learning’ –

Ultimately the decision is not up to the president or the governor, but in the hands of school districts.

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Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest, has yet to decide on its classroom approach, although county health director Barbara Ferrer reportedly told education bosses to have “plans in place to continue distance learning for 100 percent of the time.”

Monika Zands has three children between the ages of eight and 17, and firmly believes face-to-face teaching is needed for the coming school year, particularly for her youngest.

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“Our older children did not fall behind as they basically did school every day online… it kept them in the natural flow of school,” said Zands, 47.

“The little one definitely fell behind in knowledge and intellect — if this continues I am definitely concerned about how she will have the drive and motivation to catch up.”

Last semester, the youngest girl received an hour of online teaching followed by five hours of homework.

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“She’d be in tears, crying ‘I can’t see my friends, and I can’t do this and now you want me to sit and do homework all day long,'” recalled Zands, whose children attend private schools.

If schools do not reopen in August, she is considering grouping with other parents to hire a tutor to provide in-person lessons to a small group.

But it is a luxury few can afford — something that concerns University of California Los Angeles child psychiatrist Jena Lee.

“I’m especially concerned of the risk of further polarization of learning between different socioeconomic groups,” Lee said.

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Children “from more disadvantaged homes are more vulnerable to academic setbacks with schools closed.”

– ‘Risk of more injury’ –

Lee also warned that the longer schools are closed, the greater the “risk of more injury to education as well as their mental health and social development.”

Avalos agrees. Her daughter has an attention disorder, which at school would be addressed by a specialist — a service not available online.

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As an only child, her “very social” daughter also badly misses playing with her friends.

Still, on balance Avalos would prefer her child — who has recently battled pneumonia and bronchitis — to continue remote learning for the sake of her physical health.

“If it wasn’t for the virus, I would send her back to school.”


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Anti-mask GOP lawmaker mocks Ohio governor for testing positive for coronavirus

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Notoriously anti-mask Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale gloated after Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Urbana Republican has questioned masks and opposed other public safety measures imposed by DeWine, also a Republican, and ridiculed the governor after he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus ahead of meeting President Donald Trump.

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Schools aren’t safe — and parents don’t believe President Bleach-Injector when he claims otherwise

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Like a landlord trying to get potential renters to sign the lease before they notice the spreading mildew stain in the ceiling, Donald Trump is hoping to bamboozle Americans into reopening the schools, likely hoping that the coronavirus incubation period will delay a drastic explosion in cases until after Election Day. Despite fawning headlines late last month congratulating Trump for his supposedly "somber" tone and an alleged "shift" to taking the pandemic seriously, our president has returned to his standard operating procedure, which is trying to sell the public on flat-out lies about the coronavirus in much the same way he bamboozled investors into backing his craptastic real estate properties.

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Mask-hating Trump supporter refuses to leave DMV building even though she has no reason to be inside

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A video is circulating on social media showing a maskless Trump supporter refusing to leave a Ohio DMV building, saying that she wants to accompany her boyfriend.

The woman, identified as Anna Peric, was asked to leave by employees and customers because she wasn't wearing a mask. In a post to her Facebook page, Peric said that an employee of the DMV had no right to enforce the state's mask mandate.

"I told him that he CAN NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY BODY. He then said I need to leave bc me being inside with Marc exceeded the space available," Peric wrote. "I asked to see the occupancy permit. I left the building and stood outside. The mob-crowd outside then began to yell things at me. One guy inside his truck called me a b*tch. Another younger guy said 'I dont care about the facemask, why do you have to be an expletive'."

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