This coming weekend and the start of next week may just be one of the most stressful time for many of us. Whether you have children, grandchildren or know families with kids or you may be a teacher or staff working in the education system…. these are stressful times.
The education system and how it moves forward will have a huge impact on the phycology of many of us and the economy will be affected as well depending on whether parents need to stay home. This chain reaction has a devastating impact on many of us and how we are able to cope with this additional stress.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced school closures all over the world, heavily disrupting the learning process of many children, youth, and their families. During this time, distance-learning solutions were implemented to ensure education continuity, and much of the current debate focuses on how much students have learnt during school closures. However, while this potential learning loss may only be temporary, other elements that happen in the absence of traditional schooling, such as the curbing of education aspirations or the disengagement from the school system, will have a long-term impact on students’ outcomes.
As students went off the grid during the school closures many bad habits started to form with many students often linked to their socio-economic background, leading to a withdrawal from the school system that can induce a long-term impact on students’ outcomes. Such elements encompass for instance the struggle some students face to maintain their learning pace from home due to inadequate resources, the erosion of their basic academic skills due to lack of practice.
Doug Ford has repeatedly said he wants to see full-time school resume, because he also realizes the fall out of keeping kids’ home and the impact on the economy. High level officials at SickKids Hospital and other high-ranking authorities have called for children to return to class full-time. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has been very weak on communicating his plan and he has aggravated many parents, teachers and school unions. He has been uncertain of his position and has turned off a large group of Ontarians with his wishy-washy answers on reopening schools.
The Ontario government and school boards across the province are still in the process of developing guidelines on how schools should reopen, with some considering a hybrid system where half the students attend for part of the week and the other half for the other. Also kicking in the online teaching where you have a shared approach within school and online teaching. Either approach does not sit right with most teachers and their mental state is not good. When you have uncertainty and teachers who are not happy …. What do you get?
Opting out is an option that many parents have…l personally know of many families that are keeping their children home. However, many parents do not have that luxury of keeping their kids’ home. This week parents are having this stressful discussion on do l opt my kids out of school. As schools reopen, the onus is on individuals to determine how much risk they are willing to take, yet people are generally not great at assessing risk.
Whether parents decide to send their children to school or keep them at home, they still need to be vigilant and consider who they and their children interact with, as well as who those individuals interact with and what they do outside of the time they spend together.
School closures due to COVID-19 have left all students hanging and with much uncertainty to their future and how educational systems may look like in the near future. Governments are pursuing a variety of approaches to mitigate school closures. At the same time, all countries are undergoing the largest economic contradictions of our lifetime, reducing public budgets and household incomes. What effect might this storm have on schooling attainment and learning?
Minister Lecce has not put out any effective policy responses when students return to school.
His misguided approach has left teachers and parents out in the cold with not knowing what to expect when kids finally do get back to school. Minister Lecce, was quoted as saying…
“We believe that online learning provides a multitude of benefits for students, particularly when it comes to diversifying the course offerings and really embracing 21 st century learning. But at the end of the day, we have listened and heard that parents want to be in the driver’s seat of that decision.” A lot of fluff and no clear plan.
Ontario teacher’s unions are saying that back to school plans violate health and safety laws and they will try and stale the return to classes by all means. I know these are unchartered waters but at times when we are in a pandemic, we look for leadership, especially when it comes to our children.
My prediction moving forward is that in class lessons will be shut down by Thanksgiving Day….
I hope l’m wrong.