To the Editor:
Bowling Green City Schools should reopen to provide face-to-face instruction for our children and enable them to return to the physical classrooms immediately. It is time to stop admiring the problems of COVID-19, move forward with solutions to prevent the spread, and provide high-quality education to our children. Parents and students have been patient. Teachers have been accommodating. The board of education has had ample time to problem-solve.
As a lifelong resident, I respect concerns for the safety and welfare of our children and staff; however, after nearly an entire year, I strongly believe that the quality of full-time, remote/online learning is not equitable to in-person instruction. Students have not had classes on Mondays for the entire first semester until recently on Jan. 25. Tuesday through Friday, the school day ends by noon, and many students have completed their school day earlier. While I acknowledge that students have assignments to complete outside of the school day, students have always had homework. How are BGCS meeting state requirements for instruction and attendance? According to the Ohio Department of Education’s website, students in grades 7-12 are required to be in session for 1,001 hours. BGCS students are not engaged in 1,001 hours of rigorous instruction remotely.
Research-based articles support in-person classes do not contribute to COVID-19 spread. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC scientists in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network “see little evidence in-person school drives COVID-19 infection” (Chandler, 2021). The scientists explain that closing schools may affect academic progress, mental health and access to essential services.
As an educator myself, Rossford Schools have provided a hybrid education for this entire school year. The interaction that occurs during in-person learning experiences is invaluable and irreplaceable. Hybrid education has provided routines for students, built positive student/teacher relationships, and confirmed motivation for many students to attend a “brick and mortar” school.
It is time to resolve problems related to reopening our schools. Remote learning is not what’s best for all children. The CDC scientists suggest universal mask use, social distancing and ventilation prevent the spreading of COVID-19 infections. Other area school districts have been successful in their efforts. “Brick and mortar” instructional options for BGCS should be offered immediately.