By Letter to the Editor on September 2, 2020.
An open letter to all parties having an interest in the return to school of students in a COVID-19 world:
We have listened, ad nauseam, to the objections to the reopening of schools this fall. There seems to be no end to the objections. The parties involved in these discussions do not appear to be thinking “outside the box.”
It seems that there is a simple solution to all of the objections to the various plans to reopen schools in Canada. That is to divide each school class in half, and assign each half to even-numbered or odd-numbered school days. As part of this division, family units should be considered so family members attend classes on a common schedule. Teachers attend their classes every school day to teach the odd and even student groups the same material.
This solves many objections. These include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Reduces class size by half, allowing for vastly improved social distancing in the classroom for students, teachers, and staff;
2. Reduces size of student groups at lunch and recess;
3. Reduces the passenger load for school buses by half, providing for vastly improved social distancing for riders;
4. Reduces the number of potential contacts when someone develops COVID-19 symptoms or is tested positive for COVID-19, therefore reducing, by half, the number of people potentially requiring isolation; and
5. To accommodate the reduced teaching time, the curriculums could be reduced to the basics, without frills. I suspect that the curriculums used for home schooling are different from the in-class ones as the time available for home instruction is reduced, especially in families with multiple students in different grades. These smaller curriculums could be used for in-class instruction.
In summary, no amount of money thrown at this problem will provide the necessary space to provide for social distancing. There is a finite amount of classroom space in the schools, and adding staff will not increase this space, but will only exacerbate the problem by adding more people to the room.
Gary and Sharon Walsh