By: GIANNA LUGLIANI
Last week, starting on September 8th, an assortment of schools in the Marin County of California were approved to open back up and allow in-person learning for their students. 15 schools that range from teaching pre-k up to sixth grade have been given waivers by the Marin County Public Health office that allow them to do this, as long as they comply with the public health guidelines that have been established to slow the spread of coronavirus. These include the already well-known wearing of face masks for all staff and students and the careful sanitizing of classroom equipment after each usage. Hopefully, if everything goes well, more districts will be able to open up as well, including middle and high schools.
Marin has been cleared for this ordeal to commence because “as of August 4, Marin County’s rate was 195.56 per 100,000 cases.” This complies with the rule that the number of cases within a two week period must be below 200 in order to be considered safe for things like this to occur. September 13th marks a six month period since kids have been able to be in the classroom physically, which is a long time for kids to be at home. As long as it is safe for them to go back, it will be beneficial to their social growth to be back with their classmates during the school year. It has been shown that kids don’t learn as well from online learning through video calls. Being at home holds a lot of distractions, especially for younger kids who aren’t used to sitting in front of a computer to learn. “Educational experts say video calls can be a sudden reminder to kids of how different things are in their worlds right now.” They are losing valuable time with their friends, and it’s hard for them to adjust to this new way of life. That is why it’s a good sign that these schools in Marin County are being able to open up safely.
Kids need to interact with each other, and being on Zoom limits their ability to meet new people in their class. Lee Scott, chairwoman of the educational advisory board at a local school notes that “video chat removes all of the spontaneity that’s such a hallmark of kid friendships, particularly for the younger set.” This takes away any small interactions or conversations that might have happened if they were in class. If this opening up of schools for younger kids is successful, even if just in hybrid class sessions, it will definitely be a bright light for them in their educational careers. It will also probably increase their ability to learn and pay attention if they are physically sitting in class with their teacher in the room with them.With precautions such as desks being spaced 6 feet apart and mandatory temperature checks for all students and faculty, these schools hope to keep control of the virus and prevent it from infiltrating the classrooms. Across the United States, schools that have already reopened have seen a variety of results, with some having to shut down again shortly after opening. Whatever happens to Marin County school districts will set the precedent to many schools around its area. If all goes well, it might encourage other schools in California to follow their lead and welcome students back to class soon.