Virtual learning is the best choice for the start of school


Max Bee

On Monday, July 20, Ritenour School District announced that they would be starting the school year in full virtual mode, and laid out a pathway to getting back into the classroom at some point during the school year. 

The virtual model as a temporary solution is the safest way to keep students learning while protecting those around them who are at greater risk.

Distance learning protects teachers and staff, as well as high risk students and family members who may have contact with the students from mixing with a large, densely populated group of students where the virus is likely to be circulating.

In the event that a student were to get sick during hybrid learning, the individual would need to quarantine for the mandatory two weeks.

This not only affects their work, but also all of their contacts within the school who will also have to quarantine.

Tests have been backlogged for up to days at a time, and could take more than a week to hear back for a negative result. This could take a significant number of staff and students out for a considerable amount of time, which could all be avoided if all students were distance learning.

At the high school level; the benefits of in-person learning have to be weighed with the risk associated with going back full time or hybrid. However, in the virtual model, students are allowed more freedom and flexibility, which could be beneficial for some.

Rates across the country are still rising, and the collective response has been lacking. It cannot be expected that going into the fall and winter months, with the seasonal flu and the predicted second wave of COVID-19 that things will look better soon. 

These models can be adapted as the year goes on to fit K-12 academic needs, but in the beginning we should proceed with caution and start the year slowly.