With the Pandemic still ongoing and the fight against the COVID 19 Pandemic still waging, the question lingering on everyone’s mind is what will happen to schools? As of writing this article, at least 14 states required in-person instruction to be available in all or some grades either full- or part-time. At least nine states have already mandated full-time, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Is this the right move?
Mandating in-person schooling has its pros and cons. In a study done by Education Week, “the researchers found, the graduation rate in full-time virtual schools was just 54.6 percent, 30 points lower than the national rate. Less than 43 percent of full-time virtual schools with ratings by their state accountability systems were deemed acceptable.” However, conversely, with COVID levels still not going down, many claim that it’s not worth the risk of going back to school.
It is in this author’s personal beliefs that the state of Alabama has created the correct model. According to Governor Kay Ivey “Districts make the decision on what instructional model to offer. There is no statewide order in place regarding instructional models for 2021-22.” This is the perfect solution for 2 key reasons. Firstly, it allows districts in different socioeconomic standings to make decisions that better themselves. Districts where students have more access to technology will have a substantially easier time supporting an online model of schooling. However, districts who may not be as fortunate would have a much easier time having in person schooling with clear policies that will try to reduce the spread of COVID.
There are millions of Hyphenated-Americans across the nation, each with their own set of circumstances. There shouldn't be an end-all solution that certain media companies are calling for. While it’s still too early to determine how dangerous in person schooling really can be, I have hope that we can begin returning to some semblance of normalcy in the not-so-distant future.