We have the ability to innovate and meet the needs of all students.
Education during the time of COVID is going to be imperfect at best, but there are things we can do. On-line classes, especially for middle school and high school students is one solution, but there are limitations. Some students cannot access reliable internet service or do not have the equipment they need. When my children were in school we experienced both problems and my daughter spent many days on a borrowed laptop outside of the public library in order to use their internet service.
The other issue is a lack of adult support in youth studies. For children who have parents at home, either remote working or not in the workforce, they are more likely to have steady guidance on how to best manage their time and complete their work. But many children do not have this influence and are left on their own to navigate complicated online systems that take time to learn, not to mention developing their time management skills.
These issues are particularly hard for low income or poverty level students and for many students of color. When I worked with the Lao community I saw many parents who couldn’t speak, read or write English well. Their ability to help their children was minimal. This means we must take extra care in ensuring students who lack adult support are given equal opportunities.
For younger children, online learning is far less effective, especially young children whose parents are unable to help them. This is why we need to ensure we offer more than one solution to the educational crisis brought on by COVID. We need an integrated system of support that takes into consideration COVID precautions while giving support to the vulnerable children in our community. This might look like staggered in-school class times for some students, volunteer programs that provide tutoring or one-on-one work with tutors. We have the ability to innovate and meet the needs of all students. As a community we can rise to this challenge!