Caitlin Reynolds, a single parent, was relieved to see her son, L.J., thriving in fourth grade following a tumultuous transition to online education the previous year.
Then, on November 17th, it was announced that, starting in December, Detroit public schools will be closed on Fridays. Only online courses would be available.
An Additional Statement was Made on Friday:
students would be absent from class beginning the following Monday and staying out for the entire Thanksgiving break. There would be no online choice this time.
We need you to take the kids out again, right?” what Reynolds had to say. Why wouldn’t that be bad for these students?
Some public schools are cancelling classes for a week or more due to teacher fatigue or staff shortages after a period of relative calm in the classroom lasting several months.
Seattle Public Schools was one of at least six Michigan school districts to unexpectedly close on the day after Veterans Day, and three Washington school districts also closed. Brevard County Public Schools in Florida closed all week for Thanksgiving because of the number of “storm days” that had been left over.
The Canyons School District in Utah has announced that all of its schools would be closed for remote learning for over a week in the months of November through March.
Some of these districts have shut down with little to no warning, leaving parents scurrying to find child care and muster the resources necessary to oversee their children’s online education. Even if the logistics can be worked out, many parents are concerned that their children will fall further behind if they miss more days of in-person school.
Several factors, including an increase in confirmed instances of COVID-19 and the necessity to conduct a thorough cleaning of classrooms, led districts to temporarily close their schools. The remote learning days, however, are a last resort for many schools as they are an option that did not exist before the outbreak. Teachers have claimed they are exhausted from working extra hours to make up for staffing shortages and spending the past year attempting to help children recover from learning loss.
Reynolds Middle School, located in Fairview, Oregon, just east of Portland, was forced to cancel school from November 18 to December 7 due to student violence and other disruptions. The parents were informed two days in advance.
After returning from winter break, the Portland teachers’ union has proposed allowing some schools to have early dismissal days.
Portland Association of Teachers president Elizabeth Thiel says a “alarming” number of teachers are contacting the organisation for assistance in resigning. She argues that schools might be spared from having to go fully remote if the union can come up with a solution soon.