The Importance of In-person Learning
As of March, many students in San Mateo County will have not stepped foot onto their school campus for one year. While educators should be commended for the work they have done to transition to distance learning, we have to acknowledge that this disruption is widening the already persistent achievement gap. The lack of adequate resources for families to effectively foster a healthy learning environment at home such as consistent high-speed internet, places to participate in school from home without distraction, and adequate academic supports, have contributed to an expanding academic achievement or opportunity gap. The lack of opportunities for students to have social interaction with their peers is also fostering a sense of isolation for many students. A recent analysis by the Bay Area Newsgroup highlights the disparities. School districts in more affluent and well-resourced communities have the resources to implement safe in-person learning, but the majority of districts have not been afforded that luxury. More school districts are recognizing that with adequate safety measures in place, they can safely reopen. Redwood City School District and several other local districts are making plans to incorporate some in-person learning in the spring if we continue to manage our response to COVID-19. We should all be looking to how we can ensure our local districts have the necessary resources to ensure that students resume in-person learning as soon as possible.