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Letters to the Editor: ‘Learning pods’? Teachers can’t fix every societal inequity

Learning pods
Children from different families that are quarantining together are given a science presentation in Riverside in April.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Upper- and middle-class families have long supplemented their children’s education using their own resources. Our state as a whole has accepted this arrangement and placed much of the responsibility for closing the opportunity gap this has created on teachers.

Now, with wealthier families once again tapping into their own resources because campuses are closed, your editorial board is asking teachers to replicate “learning pods.”

The parents organizing these pods have home spaces and resources to make sure that their children’s learning environments are safe. There are restrooms stocked with toilet paper and soap, enclosed outdoor spaces, internet access, learning tools and kitchens.

Your suggestion that schools sponsor half-day sessions in parks is unworkable. Park restrooms and benches would have to be sanitized. Children who live in poverty typically do not have access to green spaces. As a first-grade teacher, I can tell you that it is not feasible to socially distance while tutoring or assisting a child with a technology problem.

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Much as I might try, I cannot replicate the learning environment of my students’ more affluent peers. But I can focus on the quality of instruction I will be delivering to my first-graders in the fall — that is, if they have access to reliable internet connections.

Aurora Mireles, Monterey Park

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To the editor: One problem frequently cited as a reason not to open schools is space. Social distancing requirements would be difficult to meet if students congregated in classrooms.

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Hotels and motels were opened to homeless people and healthcare providers. This arrangement helped those businesses stay open.

Similarly, why not use restaurants as classrooms? They have tables and chairs that can be spaced far apart, restrooms that can be supplemented with portable units in the parking lot, food services, water and air conditioning.

Renting the spaces might help keep these businesses alive too. Movie theaters might also be considered as facilities that could meet our educational needs.

Jennifer M. Rapaport, Los Angeles


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