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  • David Swarbrick

Is it Credible to Consider In-Person Instruction from the Beginning of the Fall Semester?

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

To begin this discussion I would like to reference an article from The American Association of Pediatrics.

It is an excellent article. Of particular interest is the summarize statement in bold after the bullet points.

“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The thinking of AAP is further clarified in a separate article which discusses the bigger picture related to the recommendations given by the CDC regarding school reopening this fall. A couple of quotes directly from the AAP are worth noting.

“The academic, physical, and mental benefits of returning children to school for in-person learning outweigh the potential health risks of COVID 19.”

“Children are far less likely to become infected than adults, and far less likely than adults to transmit the virus to others.”

These statements are corroborated by Dr. Kelly Victory, a trauma and emergency physician with a specialty in disaster preparedness and response. She has worked for 25 years helping communities, including schools, plan and prepare for worst case scenarios. in the following statement, she has a lot to say about COVID-19.

Specifically with regard to children, she is saying what many are saying.

“Children are at virtually no risk. Only a handful of children throughout the country have had any significant illness from COVID-19. And all of them had serious underlying health issues.”

Based on this perspective, shared by many knowledgeable individuals,I believe it is very credible to consider conducting in-person classes from the beginning of the year. I do not agree that all kids need to be in school. Most of us would disagree with that notion. But I do believe that most children can return to their normal learning environments. And for our children that is classes on campus one day per week and home with mom and dad the rest of the week. These statements are not intended to promote traditional schooling but to highlight the minimal risk COVID 19 poses to children.

If we accept the notion that starting classes on time is both credible and beneficial, it raises the question of what that would look like. We want balance, to be safe and cautious, wise and intentional. We want special circumstances to receive special attention and general Circumstances to receive general treatment. I strongly believe that we as a community can figure this out. With teachers and supervisors and parents and administrators working together, we can figure out how to make this work. Universities all across the country are resuming in-person learning this fall, balancing safety and a return to normalcy. If they can do it, we can too.

Next I will begin to address churches and the next layer of accountability within which we must operate.

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