By mid- August, the yellow school buses will return our children to school for the 2021-2022 school year, this time for an in-person classroom learning experience.
Polls of parents, teachers, school administrators and political leaders at all levels of government endorse this return to classrooms for children of all ages. This support is driven by the results of this past school year’s COVID-19-fueled experiment with virtual learning.
Indeed, even when paired with in-person learning for a hybrid experience, virtual learning has had had a negative impact on some students’ academic progress.
Faced with larger-than-usual subject failures by students at all grade levels, school districts nationwide turned to summer school options. They tasked educators to review and to reteach material to those students, who during the regular school year failed to attend to or grasp to mastery of some subject matter — often in the absence of a consistent physical presence of a teacher to monitor their progress and to adjust teaching strategies to individual learner needs.
Whether this abbreviated, albeit intensive summer intervention can reverse a full year of academic struggles of some students remains to be seen. Yet our school districts, and in particular our teachers, deserve our support and gratitude for their continued efforts to promote academic achievement for our children.
All this said, there is a role for the rest of us to play in fostering a successful return to school for our children. Each of us can step forward to get a vaccination against the deadly virus that last year threatened the academic success for far too many children in our communities even as a variant of it promises to continue the assault in the fall.
As adults, we must set aside our ideologies; rise above personal fears of vaccine side effects; and, challenge partisan-driven misinformation about the veracity of the vaccine. When we protect ourselves from this virus, we can slow the spread of the disease and protect our children who are too young to be vaccinated at this time.
Getting the vaccine, available to us as adults, will help strengthen the safety net around our precious children as they face the challenges of a new school year. Step up and get your shot.
The writer lives in Ridgeway.