Kids need in-person teaching, distance learning much the lesser choice . . .

Both in terms of effectiveness and comparative dangers for teachers et al.

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By Jim Bowman


Picking up from where we left off, Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota:


. . . long-distance learning may have gotten us through the initial crisis, but it is not a long-term solution.


How so?


. . .  because of the great disparities in remote learning. Initial nationwide research suggests that students will return to school in the fall with roughly 70 percent of learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, and less than 50 percent in mathaccording to projections from the NWEA [North West Evaluation Association]. Remote learning may work for some, but it is not the answer for most.


In South Dakota . . .

. . . one of our largest school districts self-reported that they lost contact with as many as 30 percent of students when we went online. Think about that: some schools in our state haven't heard from as many as a third of their kids since March. That cannot continue. Those kids are likely to fall behind, with lifelong consequences to their career opportunities and family life.


That so in Oak Park and River Forest? Worth reporting by the districts.


And teachers, staff, administrators?


. . .  teachers are unlikely to be infected by students. Remember what that SickKids report tells us: "evidence is mounting that children may be less susceptible to this virus and may be less likely to transmit the virus to others." If kids are unlikely to get teachers sick, then teachers' main health concern would be protecting against transmission between themselves.


Teachers et al. "not in high-risk category"? In S Dakota "vast majority" not.

But some are, and they have many options available to them, such as social distancing, masking, and proper hygiene. If vulnerable teachers need to teach online classes to vulnerable students, that is certainly an option that is also available.


Finally, keep in mind something else.

. . .  online instruction does not reduce exposure outside the classroom. Dr. Scott Atlas at Stanford University notes that the risks to adults in schools are much less than those encountered in grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses.


Always ask, especially in dangerous situations, compared to what? Teachers are already exposed before they enter a classroom and we presume already take protective measures. Classroom exposure is less, possibly far less a problem.

Food for thought, I do believe, and not just in South Dakota.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

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Reader Comments

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Jahred Adelman  

Posted: August 11th, 2020 2:28 PM

Jim, I'm not sure what exactly you are reporting that is so new. It's widely understood that remote learning is not as good for children or their parents as in-class learning. I don't think that's news. And it has also been widely reported that children *may* be at less risk to transmit the days. Emphasis on *maybe*. All parents want their kids back in school, but only when it is safe to do so for the kids, for families, for teachers and for janitors and for the community. Being indoors in a tight space for hours at a time in a country that has no control over the virus is a recipe for disaster. See what's happening already in Georgia, for example. I would point out that the SickKids hospital is in Toronto, so it is part of a country that has actually made a dent against containing this disease, unlike our disastrous nation down south here. Opening up schools seems reasonable in places that have the virus under control, but that is just not the case here yet. And I don't think anyone here cares at all what the governor of South Dakota says about anything; she can go back to groveling at the feet of our Dear Leader in DC (aka Mr. "It's going to Disappear").

Jim Bowman  

Posted: August 11th, 2020 11:13 AM

Jahred, I'm reporting the un- or hardly reported. Another something for the broth. Rebuttals welcome.

Helen Vogel  

Posted: August 11th, 2020 10:34 AM

Probably one of the most insane "articles." Especially since the latest reports show the number rising significantly in young children. I am amazed (though I shouldn't be) that you think it's ok to send MY children back to school! Both of which are teachers. Everyone wants to be back in the classroom setting, yes even, and in some cases especially the teachers. It is just not right choice at this time. If we're being honest, I am more concerned about what is happening in my back yard. I'm sorry, but I could care less about what Governor (R) has say about South Dakota.

Jahred Adelman  

Posted: August 11th, 2020 10:09 AM

I'm glad that Jim is volunteering to teach in the schools this fall if he thinks it is safe to do so

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