As the working parent of a kindergarten student in Frederick County, I'm disappointed by the Board of Education's decision to reject a hybrid learning model for the county's youngest students. I believe our kindergarten students need to have some in-person instruction instead of the fully virtual model we are currently following.

The hybrid education model proposed and rejected by the school board was an appropriate instruction model for our child that balanced safety concerns with development concerns for our children. It is unhealthy for our youngest students to be in a fully virtual environment with no chance to properly develop the social skills that are so critical when you are young. We now have 5-year-olds in the county who are spending 20 or more hours a week looking at laptops.

I believe that the risk is appropriately low to allow a limited number of our children back to school with appropriate safety precautions like mandatory mask usage and increased sanitation, and that not sending our youngest students back for limited in-person instruction is harmful to these students. I want to be clear that I am not advocating for a full return to school or a hybrid model for all grade levels, but I do wish to see a hybrid model for our youngest learners.

As the spouse of a partner who works in senior living, I am aware of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and urge my fellow residents to wear a mask and act responsibly. But acting responsibly should include a pathway that allows our 5- and 6-year-olds to at least have two days per week to develop socially with each other in a learning environment that is not on a laptop.

Because of their votes against this hybrid learning model for our youngest students, I will not be voting for Ms. Jarman and Ms. Gallagher in the November election.

(18) comments

huskycats

Gary [thumbup]

HappySeller2014

You DO NOT need public schools to socialize your kids.

Be an active parent. Take them on field trips. National parks. State parks. Local parks. Schedule playdates for your kids. Join a volunteer organization with your kids. Plan some outdoor activities, like a hike.

Until we have a vaccine, or at least a strong treatment regimine, sending kids to schools is foolhardy. Five days, two days, does not matter.

Be a parent. Parents raise their kids, not school systems. I have stopped being amazed at folks who think their problems are always caused by something else, instead of themselves.

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

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Lbird23

Thank you for your concern about my parenting skills. I assure you my kids are fine and they do get to socialize with other kids. I take responsibility for raising my children and early results show I have done a good job. That said, kids need school. And school isn't just about learning from books. I happen to think full time virtual school for kindergartners isn't appropriate but you disagree. I'm not going to argue with you nor cast aspersions as you did. have a pleasant day

HappySeller2014

Good to hear from this letter's author. We both seem to care very much for our children. Right now, it just looks like we have to make lemonade out of lemons.

I believe 50% of learning for children from kindergarten through 2nd grade is socialization. Learning how to play with other children in the sandbox. Reading, writing and arithemetic are for 3rd grade onwards.

That being said, yes, it stinks for our littlest learners. But children adapt quickly. Their success over the past six months, and probably the next 12, depends on us parents.

gabrielshorn2013

Happy!!! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

MD1756

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Dwasserba

I empathize because we had a no-napper high energy only child kindergartener that I hit multiple parks with every day after school, to be among random kids just awhile longer. The routine of school was so important to her that on weekends she suggested, "now it's snack time, and next is...." and we went to Disney World on breaks when other kids were busy with local family we don't have, rather than be reminded what activity should be next on our agenda. I took this determination as a sign of a type of intelligence I don't have and I was right, but whew, I've imagined us in these circumstances and can't see it going well. That said: I would keep her at home and get anxiety meds for me because of the uncertainties regarding air movement and filtration within buildings.

NewMarketParent

Sending kids back is the recipe for disaster. Kids seem to be a big vector and why they seem to fair better than adults, they can a much higher amount of virus around. I myself am not in a rush to infect educational staff nor be a single-parent household because some can't handle a remote learning experience.

MD1756

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bpswp

Pressure needs to be put on the Republican Senators to pass a bill that supports the state budgets and education. There are ways to prepare schools to open safely, but not without money to school systems to prepare to do so. https://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=assistant+professor+at+Harvard%2c+safely+opening+schools&d=5016723738132841&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=dQ0XLFiU3YPpV6zcrbpbWFFv7VaMyowi

MD1756

bpswp, are you wiling to give up your income tax deductions/credits to pay for the needed revenues? If not, why not?

gary4books

If a full return is not safe, how can one or two days a week be any safer? The problem is close contact with others and they may bring the virus home with them. The notion that six feet is safe is not supported by the facts. Even in China months ago, people fifteen feet apart were infected. A year or so may cost social skills. Contact may cost lives.

shiftless88

I would note that in my neighborhood I see plenty of kids socializing when school is not in session. So I think that unless you live way out in the country then your kids do get opportunities to socialize.

Lbird23

I'd argue that there is a difference. limited number of students in a school, limited number of teachers in a school, for a limited number of days is less risky than a full return

gary4books

It just takes one.

MD1756

And you start creating disparities in their education. What if some students are in class in person during a particularly challenging subject and others are at home? By the time they get into the class they may be on to the next concept in that class and it may be one that is easy to grasp even remotely. Unless you're going to be repetitive you're going to potentially have that problem. That will then be a future education gap to study.

MD1756

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