First a huge debt of thanks to the entire school district for getting us ready and launching e-learning. Well done. Second kudos to the team for keeping up the spirit—absolutely vital—again fantastic.
We now, however, need to start talking about how we can minimize the long-term effects of this situation on our kids and community. The governor recently floated the idea of kids not coming back to school until the fall—i.e. they would be out of school from March 11 to Aug. 31. I am not sure if people suggesting this were serious, or if they have outlined why this would be a prudent course of action, in my view this would be terrible for just about everybody.
The kids don’t need more time away from educators and friends, they don’t need to graduate on a pass-fail basis, and they don’t need to be promoted or held back a year based on vague guidelines and crisis thinking. What kids need is an education (and society needs educated kids). We can accomplish this, also in these times.
My proposal is very simple. For each day of e-learning we add back half a day of school (if we think e-learning is the same as real school—we should have a larger discussion about how we educate our kids and the investments we are making going forward).
If we stick with the April 20 return we should be able to get out around July 1—not too bad considering. If we go longer in closure, we just go longer into July and August (this will be very simple to administer, and for people to understand).
We already know that kids lose a lot of what they learn over the summer, so this will help that. This will also make sure they are in good shape come the fall, irrespective of where their next destination is. If air conditioning is an issue start school early in the morning and order air-conditioning units now (we appear to have some utility savings costs now by not having schools open that could be spent in the summer). We have enough emergency declarations at the federal, state and local level to deal with any contractual or other potential impediments.