School year must start with virtual learning
I am a special education teacher with 34 years of experience in the Virginia public school system. Like it or not, we need to start the 2020–21 school year using the virtual learning model. Until the masses have been given the opportunity to receive a vaccine, the situation is out of our control. There are too many unknowns when it comes to COVID-19.
Taking someone’s temperature as they enter a building tells you very little. Parents have been sending their children to school with fevers as long as Tylenol has been around. Even if you tested every student and staff member who walked through the door, you wouldn’t know who was positive for days. COVID-19 will spread like wildfire.
In my own house, I control who my child has contact with—a very small circle of friends. I control where we go and what risks are worth taking. If I enter a school building or send my child to school, I have relinquished the slight control I have over this situation. Yes, I have the choice to keep my child home, but if his friends go to school he will no longer be allowed to see them in person. Will I be allowed to teach virtually? I am 55 with no pre-existing conditions, but my husband is in a high risk group. Will I have to retire to protect my family?
Virtual learning is a sad substitute for face-to-face instruction, and we will feel the effects of this virus for a long time. But I want to be around to teach the children of Virginia until I make the choice to retire, not have it made for me by COVID-19 and its side effects.