CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — It has been nearly a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and for some students, that’s the same amount of time they’ve spent out of the classroom.
Online schooling can be frustrating for many families. Others say it’s the best option to keep their students safe.
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that children would be relatively safe returning back to the classroom with proper safety protocols in place, but for some teachers, they believe personal protective equipment and social distancing will not be enough to keep COVID-19 from spreading at school.
The differing opinions are creating heated moments between both sides.
From teachers protesting to keep kids home in Illinois to parents rallying for schools to open in-person learning in Virginia.
Debate is raging across the country.
In Nashville, Tennessee, many students have been out of the classroom for close to a year. That has pushed Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) to intervene, calling for in-person learning to return.
His administration said the time away from the classroom has negatively impacted students’ proficiency in reading and math.
Amanda Kail, president of the Metro Nashville Education Association, posted a response to the governor on her personal Facebook page criticizing the move, NewsNation affiliate WKRN-TV reported.
Then Metro Nashville school board member Fran Bush responded back:
Kail said these teachers in the district have been expressing safety concerns surrounding in-person learning and that it’s been off the table for months.
“To say if you don’t like it you should quit, you’re just having a pity party,” Kail said. “In Rutherford, they’ve lost, what four teachers at this point to COVID? You can’t belittle that stuff.”
Bush said her response was out of frustration.
“I get so emotional talking about it because we shouldn’t even be here,” she said. “We are in a situation in Nashville that we have every opportunity to get them back in school.”
She said her post came from a place of genuine concern for students learning, after seeing an increase in student truancy with online learning.
“This is a serious time when you have so much learning loss for the students that need that in-person,” Bush said. “And as we know public schools carry most kids that are in poverty. We haven’t been able to give those kids the support they need and unfortunate they have suffered tremendously.”
She said PPE and vaccinations are the best options to get the classrooms open and Metro Nashville Public Schools should offer optional virtual learning.
Like many districts across the nation, the school district is taking it day by day to determine next steps.
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As these districts take into consideration all factors, that new CDC study suggests that with proper safety protocols, there’s relatively little risk of a serious outbreak.
Among 191 cases identified in students and staff members, only seven cases, all among students, were linked to in-school spread.
The researchers said this suggests that masks, social distancing and keeping students in smaller, consistent groups, the risk of an outbreak is significantly reduced.
It should be noted that the data collected for these studies was collected before the emergence of new coronavirus variants and before the holiday break.
Even with the data, some people believe at home learning is the best option.