In a new video interview, Joe Biden claimed that schools should be able to reopen by this time next year or sooner. This time next year? The education of our children is being damaged right now. And has been being damaged for almost a year now.
Let’s say for instance there is a school in a low income part of New York, where many of the students do not have wireless internet at home. Perhaps their parents are struggling to pay their heating and electric bills and cannot afford the internet.
Let’s say many of these families also cannot afford a personal computer, and the school does not have enough funding to provide each of its attendees a computer and internet for the duration of the pandemic. How could we possibly expect students in these situations to receive the same quality of education as their peers or students at different schools? This indirectly shoves those in poverty further down the ladder.
The Washington Post writes that these school shut downs “will exacerbate inequality” and in terms of economic inequality they are not wrong. A student cannot attend a zoom class, without internet, or a computer. This can be extremely damaging and bare many long term effects to young school age children. Not to mention the fact that a remote learning class does not hold even close to the educational value that an in class experience does.
“If the school doesn’t structure the children’s learning, the parents don’t know where to find teaching tools, and wouldn’t be confident in this role anyway. Maybe they need to hold down a job in the gig economy and will therefore will be absent much of the time. Their kids will end up spending “school hours” with junk food and Fortnite.”
These closures can also have a major effect on the mental stability of some children. Many children, without school will not receive the social interactions they need. Especially for younger kids school also doubles as a place to learn social cues and how to interact with other people.
Some students may also become depressed or saddened as they are locked up in their house, unable to see their friends at school. Causing a lack of motivation for lasting success. Students become reliant on the structure and resources provided to them in school, and struggle without it.
On top of it all, it seems very unlikely that school age children will spread COVID-19 at high rates. The New York Times claim “Researchers once feared that school reopening’s might spread the virus through communities. But so far there is little evidence that it’s happening.”
In short, it is absolutely essential that we keep our kids in school for their on cognitive, mental and educational well being. If we don’t reopen our schools soon and keep them open there could be devastating long term effects