• 52°

School closure effect will be greater next year

To the Editor:

There is no dispute that closing Virginia K-12 schools has created monumental and unimaginable challenges unlike any seen in the history of education in this state. Administrators and teachers at every level have had to rethink and redo educational instruction and support responsibilities.

One outcome of this COVID-19 pandemic is that the greater community and surrounding areas realize that schools matter far beyond classroom instruction. Schools provide students, in most cases, two nutritional meals each school day, a safe place for children so working parents can have jobs to support their families, and transportation to and from school.

Salaries paid to teachers, professional staff, maintenance and custodial technicians, food service staff, and bus drivers provide jobs that support the local economy.

Teachers have had to rework totally their lesson plans to accommodate the shift from face-to-face classroom instruction to the cyberworld of online and video instruction. While there are no other current options, these cyber-methods are no substitute for class discussion and tutoring.

The real “hit” will come next school year. Since most instruction builds upon knowledge learned in prior courses, teachers and students will have to make-up and verify topics covered during the March through June period this year before starting on topics for next year. Thus, SOL (Standards of Learning) testing next year will essentially cover the end of this year and all of next year.

One of the arguments in favor of year-round schools is that students lose some learning over the summer months. Now they have lost an additional three months with only online instruction.

Next year will be a challenge!

Robert N. Holt