We win! Mississippi is first in something!
We lead the nation in positive rate on C-19 tests, which means that we’re actually losers. Surprise.
But there may be more bad news on the way. All of Mississippi’s public school districts will reopen by the end of this month, which means that rates of infection are likely to increase, even with our best efforts. What will be the tipping point for a return to distance learning? Must 20% of the school be infected? Fifteen?
I suspect that our decisions will mirror how we’ve responded to the disease in other ways. Communities that quickly adopted mask mandates will offer more flexible curricula predicated on keeping people healthy. The assumption in these districts will be that parents will be well informed and intentional about the ways their kids get educated, and that students can return to f2f classes once numbers improve. Other districts will not have such resources–or the faith that the parents of students will stay engaged enough to help with teaching their kids.
For students who lack connectivity or familial stability, staying home to try to learn means living, but losing opportunities. Consider the students who turn to school as a source for reliable social structures, meals, and emotional support. Returning to remote learning won’t help them thrive, either. Do those issues transcend the health risks? The economic loss of not having class weigh heavily on us as well. What will happen when parents of grade schoolers cannot go to their jobs?
What happens when the grandparents of face-to-face school students attend school functions and contract C-19?
None of these issues has an easy resolution. I look forward to your assessment of the best path forward.