FRAMINGHAM – Framingham’s Return-To-School approach needs to shift from reactive to proactive.
Unprecedented times shouldn’t equate to a halt in providing a meaningful education; It means we should ensure children are in school regardless of the circumstances.
Even with an effective vaccine, we cannot predict when life will return to normal or what potential COVID curve balls may be thrown in the future. We cannot hold children responsible for the greater community’s actions indefinitely.
Rather than holding a return to in-person learning subject to variables outside of the School Committee’s control, a definitive return date should be set in stone and all efforts around what the administration and School Committee can control should go toward fulfilling that commitment.
Does this mean allocating funds to potential outdoor classrooms? Finding more physical space to distance? Forming committees and volunteers to retain and recruit qualified teachers? Reaching out to the state for assistance, etc?
A current 6-year-old kindergartner could be 7-years old before ever stepping foot into a school while kids in private schools are writing personal narratives and persuasive paragraphs at that age. Let that sink in for a minute.
The longer we wait, the more our community will suffer from the long-term ill effects of excessive screen time through remote learning: depression, anxiety, obesity, decreased language acquisition, lower future school funding due to decreased enrollment from families who turn to, and stay in, private schools, lower academic standards, etc.
A shift in the approach is the only way to ensure our children get back into the classroom and the Framingham school district honors its mission statement to “educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community.”