OPINION

Is Political Pressure Putting Harford’s Students and Teachers In Peril?
 

Webster defines a plan as a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. Apparently, some Harford County teachers feel there is not enough detail in the Superintendent’s plan to return selected students to school one day a week. The old adage “haste makes waste”, may well apply when bending to political pressures to get children back in the school buildings. After all of these years of underpaying teachers, it took a pandemic for some parents and elected officials to discover how important teachers are and the value of in person learning experiences for children.
 
At a recent Board of Education meeting, the Superintendent unveiled a plan that seemed to raise more questions than answers. Teachers wanted to know more details to assure safeguards for the protection of students and teachers? How do we manage students going through the halls and when they congregate in the cafeteria? What about teachers who are pregnant and those who have certain pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.  How will the buildings and classrooms be cleaned? An almost endless list of questions.
 
The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has brought chaos into the educational process. Teachers are not only concerned about protecting their personal health but also providing a safe healthful environment for the children. They are also concerned about the continuity of the learning process. Jumping back and forth from distance learning to one day of school attendance doesn’t appear to answer the need for continuity. The President of the teachers union suggested the Board of Educations should delay the implementation of the plan until it assures safety for all and is educationally sound. We agree!
 
Concentrating on how soon school systems can get students back into the classrooms has been short-term planning. But, Civid-19 is unpredictable. The prognosis is for a significant increase in infections and deaths in the fall season. Short-term solutions may not work if school systems ate forced into long-term home learning experiences for students.
 
Teachers have shown their flexibility and creativity during the pandemic. It is time for the 
school administration and the Board of Education, to do some long-term planning. Looking ahead will require more sophisticated at home internet learning experiences and extensive pre-arranged hard copy packets for those children who do not have access to computers and the internet.
 
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin