COVID-19's Impact on Education
Pediatricians Say Kids Better Off in School — When It's Safe Again
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Academy of Pediatrics joined with three education
organizations to weigh in on the conversation regarding the return to
school. Their perspective: Yes, children learn best when they're in
the classroom; but only when it's safe to do so.
Along with the
Federation of Teachers, the National
Education Association and the School
Superintendents Association (AASA), the AAP confirmed
that "children learn best when physically present in the
classroom." Besides the instruction they receive, there are
other advantages: "They also learn social and emotional skills
at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and
other services that cannot be easily replicated online."
While a return to
school "is important for the healthy development and well-being
of children," the organizations noted, reopening must be done
"in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff."
Decisions needed to be based "on evidence, not politics. We
should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to
open up school buildings, and listen to educators and administrators
to shape how we do it."
The statement has,
of course, come in response to recent declarations
from the Trump administration that school campuses
should reopen in the fall or face the prospect of losing federal aid.
As experts quickly pointed out, funding of schools is a decision
controlled by Congress, not the President. And overall, the feds
provide about eight percent of education funding in America; the rest
is made up of a combination of state and local sources.
organizations that issued the statement noted, using a
"one-size-fits-all approach" won't work. "Local school
leaders, public health experts, educators and parents must be at the
center of decisions about how and when to reopen schools, taking into
account the spread of COVID-19 in their communities and the
capacities of school districts to adapt safety protocols to make
in-person learning safe and feasible."
urged Congress and the administration to provide federal resources
for schools to help them "safely" educate and care for
The full statement
is available on
the AAP website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.