Back to school is an uncertain but exciting time for students, teachers and parents. This is especially true as this school year is the first normal year since Covid-19 suspended school in the spring of 2020. But what is this new “normal” and will it take a toll on students’ education? As we know Dana Hills has welcomed new Covid procedures to make this transition from online to in person school as smooth and as safe as possible. One of these procedures is the “close contact” procedure. In essence, Dana Hills has a record of who comes in close contact with who throughout the day. This is done primarily using seating charts, and by keeping these records Dana Hills is able to contact those who may have potentially been exposed to the virus on school property. Those who can prove vaccination return to class that day while those who cannot return home for 10 days to quarantine. What does missing ten days of valuable instruction time mean for these close contact students?
This year is already expected to be rigorous, as the switch from online to in person will likely bring struggles regarding students’ performance in school. These struggles are now paired with the possibility of being quarantined. Missing ten consecutive days of school brings out many questions for the worried student. How should students make up the work? How should students build an understanding of a lesson that they won’t even be taught? Teachers should be expected to excuse the work of quarantined students unless they are able to host zoom meetings during class or post detailed videos explaining each lesson daily. It should not be expected of students to make up ten days of missing work for every class without being able to attend the lessons necessary to complete that work.
The quarantine procedure is a controversial one. Yes, it does the most to protect students, but the most is too much. Missing this much school can easily be detrimental to a student’s success in school. Testing negative should ultimately allow for an immediate return to school for close contact students. If that accomodation cannot be met by the school, then it should be required of teachers to post or host zoom calls, rather than a student being left to fend for themselves through vague Canvas assignment descriptions. As Dana navigates this year, protecting the health of students while also prioritizing education will continue to be a challenge.
This year is already expected to be rigorous, as the switch from online to in person will likely bring struggles regarding students’ performance in school.
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