#health #democracy #schools
The nation’s educators are living through extraordinary challenges. Recommendations to get students back for in-person learning are necessary, for the good of students, and reasonable, because safety can be achieved.
During this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the question of how to handle infection risks in schools has fueled heated debates and passionate pleas. Early on, in the absence of good evidence, schools quickly closed or moved to ad-hoc remote learning to keep students, staff and their communities safe — yet in-person education’s essential role in our society soon became clear. Without in-person school, and combined with the lack of paid leave and limits on support for small businesses, many children struggle, and so do their parents. Educators and school staff, at higher risk than children and worried about their safety, were pitched against parents and politicians eager to re-open schools.
“The nation’s educators are living through extraordinary challenges. At the same time, recommendations to get students back for in-person learning are necessary for the good of students, and reasonable, because safety can be achieved,” says Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. “We need to stop thinking about schools in a binary way — open or closed — and instead assess the risk for in-school transmission and the quality of infection control regimes in each school, each cohort, and each classroom and hallway.”