The culmination of September marks the end of back-to-school month, and while some quarter-based universities are just sending out their syllabi, most elementary through high schools are wrapping up their first month of classes.
The current pandemic calls for states, school districts, and superintendents to make a difficult decision: do in-person classes resume? Those in favor of in-person classes argue that students will receive a higher quality education than that provided remotely, and also state that remote learning would require parents to either work remotely or take time off work to stay home with their children. Proponents of remote learning assert that the pandemic presents health risks too severe to send children back to school.
The debate not only pits economic concerns against public health, but also possibly worsens socioeconomic discrepancies between families. Remote learning requires some parents of younger children to stay home. Some families may be unable to take time off work, or they may not have the technological resources or internet required for remote learning.
Boarding schools and universities additionally weigh the benefits and costs of resuming residency. Many universities rely on room and board as a form of revenue, but dense clusters of student housing increase the probability of the virus spreading.
Schools will continue to face decisions like these in the future, as both the pandemic and policy that surround it evolve. The situation of the state and county help determine the status of classes, but as the virus continues to spread, it appears as though remote learning will continue for an extended period of time.
Learn more about schools and COVID here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2020/05/01/reopening-schools-is-as-much-about-economics-as-it-is-about-education/#6569fdf668d5
I found out today my local public schools are resuming in person classes in a week while Tacoma has postponed their in person plan indefinitely. At what point do we make conclusions based on this natural experiment across the state and country?