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OPINION | Stop the insanity; open the schools

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HAGÅTÑA — As a 31-year veteran of home schooling, I am not a big fan of public education.

But I will be the first to tell you that public school has its place for many children.

And that place is in the classroom.

Education — particularly the education of young children — should not be through a computer screen. Learning happens best in face-to-face, mind-to-mind, person-to-person interactions.

Kids need real people, not shared screen images.

Sure, kids have their parents. And while most parents are wonderful home-school teachers, what parents are doing now is not home schooling. Parents are being forced to do “school at home.” There is a big difference.

In a true home-school setting, the parent decides what the child will study, when the study will take place and how that study will be evaluated.

Under the current arrangements forced on schools and parents by the continued lockdown, parents are not home educators, but home-based education facilitators. They need to follow the schedules and assignments as dictated by the schools, which tie children to computers for long hours.

It’s driving mothers and kids crazy.

It’s insane!

Although I am a home educator, I had four children in outside educational settings when the first lockdown hit. At first, I thought, “Great. We can home-school again.”

But I was wrong. I had to nag one neurotypical teen, and then balance three kids with disabilities between two schools, on Zoom and Google Classroom. It was horrible. It took weeks to get my special learners into a workable routine.

The children who are hurt most with this continued school shutdown are those with disabilities. They need one-on-one, hands-on instruction. Period. Worksheets and Zoom are worthless to these children.

Parents who have children on Individualized Education Programs or IEPs should be breaking down the doors at the Guam Department of Education to have their children serviced in accordance with their IEPs — in person!

Just why are we doing this?

An August 2020 “Pediatrics” article on Covid-19 transmission and children (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/146/2/e2020004879) concluded: “[A]ccumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults. Therefore, serious consideration should be paid toward strategies that allow schools to remain open, even during periods of Covid-19 spread. In doing so, we could minimize the potentially profound adverse social, developmental and health costs that our children will continue to suffer…”

Open the schools.

Stop the insanity.

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