Bringing Meaningful Lessons to the Classroom
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- October 01, 2020
I wonder if students have the capability to learn meaningful lessons while COVID is
working its way across the nation. From my personal experience, yes, students can participate
in class just fine.
President Trump and his administration said they would “very much put pressure”
on states’ governors to reopen schools this fall, even with the coronavirus very much in
an outbreak status.
Every school or school district should be at the heart of making the decision of whether their
schools open, or not. My family has been agonizing over the decision of allowing our First
Grader to return to in-person school. Absent the political contest and political opinions, we
choose to have our student go to in-person classes. In our school district, classes started Aug. 13.
Our decision was based largely on security and the measures put in place by the school district,
and the individual school’s efforts to keep the facility clean and secure. Unlike previous
years, parents were not allowed to walk their student into the facility that first day, yet it seemed
as though all went well.
The president offered his opinion about opening schools, and while I don’t necessarily endorse
the president, I do agree with this reasoning.
“Our country has got to get back, and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider
our country coming back if the schools are closed,” the president added. “Everybody wants
it, the moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced plans for that state to open in August. The governor
also highlighted an undeniable truth in Florida since students began returning to classrooms last
week: There will be virus casualties. At least three districts soon reported positive coronavirus
tests among students or teachers.
In Tampa, the Hillsborough County school board became convinced that reopening right
away would lead to so much contagion that the schools would inevitably be forced to close again.
But when the school board changed its original reopening plan and elected to begin with four
weeks of remote instruction, the state threatened to withhold $200 million in funding.
Addison Davis, the Hillsborough superintendent, drove from Tampa to the state capital in
Tallahassee to try to find a compromise, and eventually settled on a plan to offer remote instruction
for one week and then open classroom doors on Aug. 31.
I must applaud Texas and our school district for opening schools and in-person learning.
They do have a hybrid model where some families have chosen to keep their students at home.
Unlike the end of the last school year, some teachers have been assigned for online instruction
only. Yes, COVID still works its way through the nation; my thought is students need in-person
interaction as well as classroom time.
This article originally appeared in the September October 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.