Schools in Georgia, Wyoming, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina, among others, have announced closures for the rest of the academic year.
Until children go back to school, many parents cannot return to work. Experts and political leaders are weighing health reasons against economic ones.
“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject; young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through," President Donald Trump said in a call with the nation’s governors Monday.
Schools should “seriously consider, and maybe get going on,” Trump said.
None of the governors on the call responded to the suggestion, according to a recording obtained by the Associated Press.
“Everybody wants to have the kids back,” Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, told AP.
“We understand the impact that this has on the economy. You have working parents and they need their kids to be safe and in a school environment so they can go back to work. Sooner or later, schools will have to reopen. The question is how.”
Online learning discontinued
Several U.S. elementary and secondary schools have announced they are shutting down their online instruction after students, teachers and parents say the effort is not producing the desired results.
Online learning has been beset with issues since schools moved lessons online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teachers report that they were not prepared to go online so abruptly. Students have complained about the technology and lack of human interaction. Parents say they have not been trained as professional educators and are not used to being with their children all day.
“We tried to make it work the first week. We put together a schedule, and what we found is that forcing a child who is that young into a fake teaching situation is really, really hard,” Alexandra Nicholson, whose son is in kindergarten in a town outside Boston, told the Associated Press.
“I’d rather have him watch classic Godzilla movies and play in the yard and pretend to be a Jedi rather than figure out basic math,” she said.