The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for how schools can reopen safely, making President Biden’s stated goal of reopening all K-12 schools to five days a week by the end of April a reality. The science has been clear that schools are of low risk to spread Coronavirus, and studies have shown that there are serious consequences of virtual learning to children’s mental, emotional, and academic well-being.
Thankfully, Arkansas schools have been open since August and have done an incredible job of putting children above special interests. Arkansas recognized the hardship that virtual learning put on children and their families and gave parents a choice for students to attend virtual or in-person learning—a choice to be made on each family’s own terms.
Regardless of the decision reached, every family with school-age children has had difficult considerations to weigh. Many families in Arkansas and across America do not have access to reliable broadband required for virtual learning, rendering that option unworkable. Likewise, many households have family members who are essential workers and cannot stay home. For others, a virtual setting may be the best option due to a high-risk family member in the house. The point is, the families have been able to choose what is right for them, not have the decision stripped from them by the government.
Arkansas has set an example for the nation on how to prioritize children and safely reopen schools. No one knows their children better than parents and they should be trusted to make the right decision for their families. Thank you to teachers and school personnel who have made this possible and ensured that our students continue to excel.