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Letters to the Editor: Forcing kids back to school would be reckless. Instead, improve distance learning

A student wearing a mask at her locker in school
Sophomore Kerry Miller bags up books while cleaning out her locker at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills on April 30.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Evidence suggests that teachers like myself and many parents are correct that physical schools cannot be reopened safely this fall. Out of concern for our own health and that of our families, many of us don’t plan to participate in the physical reopening of schools. (“Reopening California schools is dangerous. But so is letting kids go a year without learning,” editorial, June 14)

The experience of remote learning during the spring semester can and should be used as a basis for essential improvements to these programs.

Educational policymakers and local administrators must be held accountable for making sure that families can engage with remote learning — this involves hardware, internet connectivity and social welfare issues such as nutrition and child care.

The administrators of my school district covered their failures in these areas by allowing all students to be “held harmless” in terms of grading. The “hold harmless” policy undermined student engagement with learning. Administrators need to own that failure.

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Students with all necessary resources in place must be held accountable for their educational production. Teachers must be held accountable for maintaining instruction at the highest possible level.

The premise that remote learning is inherently inferior is both false and self-defeating. Whether or not politicians and school administrators want to accept it, remote learning must continue. Administrators cannot go back to business as usual by commanding teachers and students back onto campus.

All school personnel must reimagine their work in this new environment.

Emily Faxon, San Francisco

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To the editor: Reopening California schools is not dangerous. As of June17, out of the 5,000-plus deaths reported in our state, not one has been under the age of 18.

In addition, global contact tracing records suggest that child-adult tramission is extremely rare, so there is not much possibility of children getting infected at school and bringing that infection home.

Children attending school risk neither themselves nor their families. We should never have sent them home in the first place.

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Robert Helbing, Monrovia


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