Schools in Metro Atlanta have been back in session for the last four weeks. Several school districts have had to close school(s) and move from face to face learning to virtual learning as a result of increasing cases of COVID-19.
EdLanta previously wrote about how schools are not prepared for reopening. Even after schools reopened fall of 2020 during the pandemic, there were unclear and lax mandates to protect teachers and students.
elevating student voices on the reopening of schools.
I had an opportunity to listen to parents in public schools in Atlanta share their concerns regarding the reopening of schools this school year. A few of the concerns, especially from grandparents raising school aged children, not listed below are the need for more masks in public schools, portable ventilation systems for every classroom and educational space in schools and contacting tracing support.
See 10 Concerns about School Reopening from Public School Parents in Atlanta below:
- Transitions (to grade level, learning models)
- Variety of schedules for classes
- Test flexibility
- Training for parents, teachers and students on effectively learning online
- Increasing cases on COVID-19 in schools
- Learning loss
- Inconsistent educational learning options
- Access to devices and stable Internet services
- Resources and support not available for working parents
- Teacher crisis/shortage
From a policy standpoint, there is more than can be done. For example, the EdLanta Student Coalition and I have been advocating for Metro Atlanta school districts to mandate an audit of IHPs within the school system per school. This way educators can be better prepared to support students with severe and underlying health conditions. Having lost a student in the onset of the pandemic, several colleagues and parents, I know that making the physical, social, emotional and mental health of our students and staff is urgently important.
Several parents and stakeholders that have connected with EdLanta have expressed grave concerns about being prepared for protecting students and educators going back into schools this year. Parents who have had to adjust to their student having to go in and out of quarantine due to increasing numbers and exposure to COVID-19.
We know what some of the concerns from parents are in regards to the performance of schools reopening. The question now becomes, what are we going to do about it?
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Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.