CLEVELAND — Governor Dewine has laid out some guidelines for student returning to school this fall. The guidelines include face masks for staff, social distancing measures and frequent cleaning and sanitizing, but as far as other details, the state is allowing each district to make the call.
Now, as the summer months dwindle down, districts have some tough decisions ahead. One of the big questions is whether schools will return online or in-person. But some believe majority remote learning can lead to some negative outcomes.
“Where we should start and end is to design our policies based on what kids need,” said Jane Timmons-Mitchell, an associate clinical professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University.
She said that, for the most part, young children thrive working and being in an environment with their peers.
“Kids need to be with other kids for social and emotional development. They learn a lot from their peers. They develop a lot,” she said. “They need to feel good about themselves, they need feedback and one of the important ways that happens is in terms of relating to other kids.”
There’s talk of high school aged students going to the actual school buildings part time, or having the majority of their learning be online. Timmons-Mitchell advises against that.
“It’s really easy to think kids in high school are grown because they look like they are, but their brains aren’t completely developed. They’re really not actually grown,” she said. “They need supervision and they need structure and so it’s especially important to make sure that kids at all grades level have the structure of being in the school, if at all possible.”
Another concern with online learning is that absenteeism will increase.
In a new study, the Ohio State University found that children who missed a lot of school in their early years, before high school, were less likely to vote, reported having economic hardships and had bad educations outcomes when they became young adults.
“What kids need and what kids are able to do is highly impacted by what parents and administrators are able to do in regards to keeping track of that particular kid,” said Timmons-Mitchell.