Kids need in-person learning

“Open the schools,” Dr. Fauci said recently, speaking with a concurring Gov. Polis, echoing what so many of us are pleading. Why then has DCSD gone the opposite direction, mandating remote learning through at least early January and later for middle and high-schoolers ?

We’re all trying to make this work. And while Polis is urging schools to open, he’s added complexity with the fluctuating quarantine guidelines that impact staffing. One thing is certain — our kids are suffering academically, mentally and emotionally from remote learning and we need them back in school ASAP to minimize long-term damage.

Children’s academic performance deteriorates with remote learning. Douglas County is seeing a significant drop in student grades and attendance is down across the country. Nationally, just one in five teachers say they’re teaching the same amount of content as last year. And once kids get behind, data shows it’s quite hard for them to catch-up.

In addition, mental health-related emergency room visits are up 25% to 30% for children across the nation. We all hear the stories of kids breaking down crying after hours of staring frustratingly at the screen.

Importantly, children are at extremely low health risk from this virus and studies show schools are not super-spreaders. Indeed, European schools have largely remained open and haven’t contributed to a rise in cases with similar studies corroborating this in the U.S. The same is true of charter and private schools.

Focused protection for teachers is important, especially for those in more vulnerable categories. Can the more vulnerable teach remotely to families who choose that option, while the rest teach in-person? How can we creatively increase the number of subs?

The science is showing our kids need in-person learning and can do so responsibly. With our support, let’s expect our leadership to make this happen.

Will Johnson

Highlands Ranch