October 6th marks the day many students in Dallas return to in-school. As a response to the global pandemic DISD has implemented a variety of new safety measurements and protocols including; mandatory face masks, plexiglass dividers in classrooms, daily temperature checks, personal hand sanitizers, etc. On paper these changes to physical schools seem like the perfect response to preserve education while maintaining social distancing, however when observing a little closer a number of problems begin to occur.
Social distancing only works if people are willing to participate, DISD is essentially hoping children will stay six feet away from their friends throughout the school year, any parent with children will know that when forced to isolate, young children become rowdy and anxious, making the teacher spend more time maintaining order in the classroom and less time on the subject. Teachers will now be responsible for their students and their own health making their job more stressful and taking time away from teaching. Even if these available resources work the way they're supposed to, not all campuses in DISD are large enough to allow social distancing as their population is too big.
It would seem as the obvious solution would be to not go to school at all and have no risk in spreading COVID. Even with parents having the option to choose between physical and online learning, not all homes and not all students are able to learn at home. Proper internet, capable devices, and suitable environments are scarce in certain zip codes around Dallas and families have to make risks in order to maintain their children’s education.
We are in a very dangerous situation that could easily become worse if DISD makes the wrong decisions. However, as parents, siblings, and teachers we can only try our best to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy, regardless of what decisions are being made.
Written by Ricardo, District 1