By Leonardo Cervantes
LAUSD’s aim to reopen schools for in-person learning to kids in Kindergarten is admirable but it is still too soon.
On March 4, California lawmakers approved a $6.6 billion plan aimed at pressuring school districts to return to the classroom before the school year ends. Opening school for in-person learning is not the wisest move to make at this time. Children in elementary are still considered incapable of understanding the severity of the situation.
Many of these kids in pre-K and Kindergarten can not understand what it means to be cautious from stopping the spread of a virus.Young kids in elementary cannot be expected to wear a face mask throughout the school day, all while having to respond to the teachers’ questions. A lot of adults complain about the difficulty of breathing with a face mask. It cannot be expected that a child should wear one all day without having difficulty breathing.
Parents might be uneasy sending their children to school with so much uncertainty about the virus, vaccination and symptoms. A disaster can easily happen if a staff member were to have COVID-19 and spread it in the classroom to a child.
Kids love being playful, and during lunch, they will most likely all interact in the playground and that can lead to trouble. This can lead to children potentially spreading the virus to their loved ones at home. And if for some reason kids playing during recess is prohibited, there is no reason for in-person classes to be taking place.
It has been roughly a year since in-person classes were canceled and instead remote learning via Zoom became the norm. A lot of teachers might not be ready to transition back to in-person teaching.
Even if the staff were able to get a hold of all of the COVID vaccination needed, they might not feel comfortable or safe for an immediate return. Teachers might feel like they are at risk inside a classroom.
School staff members will have to be extra cautious if they are to resume in-class meetings. They will have to be safe in public in order to not cause harm to students. Staff members must be mindful that they will be in charge of students’ safety in a global pandemic.
LAUSD is an overpopulated school district, so changes and compromises must be made to be as safe as possible. One way they can compensate for schools opening early is hiring more teachers and having more classrooms available.
In other states around the United States, some schools that have opened usually leave two desks in between the students they are sitting with. That way although a students safety is not guaranteed but the necessary precautions are taken to ensure safety.
It would be a rushed attempt at allowing students back in school for the rest of this semester as only two and a half months remain. The initial target date of April 9 seems to be overly ambitious and not possible, So at minimum schools would reopen by mid-April or early May.
Instead of rushing and giving school staff 25,000 doses to reopen schools, they should take their time to be ready by the fall semester. That way not only can LAUSD Elementary schools be open again, but possibly middle and high schools as well.
It is better to wait this current semester out and during Summer have a few in-person classes available. That way staff members and students can be prepared for the fall semester.