USD 253 announced Thursday that it would halt remote access for students in isolation and quarantine beginning Monday, and many of our readers were understandably upset.
Our students have already suffered enough over the past two years, between the sudden closure of schools in March 2020 and last year’s hybrid school year.
But let’s place the blame for our current situation where it lies: the state legislature.
Last year, state legislators limited school districts’ ability to offer and utilize remote access to instruction. Districts can only offer 40 hours of remote learning per student and, if school districts ignore this, they lose their funding.
And the process to offer remote access to students was not as simple as you might think. In order to qualify for remote access, students must have a “temporary extenuating circumstance.” Local school boards must then approve the exception for each student.
Legislators said the move was intended to help our students, because in-person learning is important.
Well, of course it’s important. Most kids learn better in a classroom.
But now, COVID numbers are higher than ever and our teachers are struggling. Unlike last year, when remote learning was part of the norm, our teachers aren’t really set up for hybrid classes. Students in remote access today complain about everything from not being able to access classes to not understanding class material.
And, unfortunately, our schools have no choice right now due to our legislators’ overreach.
Nothing about this school year is ideal, but our kids are resilient and we have no doubt that teachers will work with them when our kids are back in school.
If we want things to look different for them right now, we need to help limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
And we need to talk to our legislators and urge them to let our schools make the best choices they can for our kids.
News and Online Editor