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Editorial: Support educators during stresses of new school year

The Minnesota Department of Education on Thursday announced it’s Safe Learning Plan, which through a formula supplied by the MDE, gives the schools more flexibility in deciding how they will approach the upcoming school year.

No doubt this was a difficult decision to make, one of many that will come as long as COVID-19 remains a thing we must deal with.

The plan is a data-driven approach, using the best practices allowable through the formula (cases per 10,000 people in a county over 14 days) and doesn’t place a blanket approach to all schools. Instead, it recognizes that some places aren’t dealing with the severity others are and should not be subject to the same restrictions.

While this appears to be a nice middle ground, it does put strain on districts as they now have to have a rolling contingency that could change within the span of two weeks.

Not only will teachers be tasked with continuing to provide quality education in such a challenging environment, they are also maintained with the task of keeping children safe.

The pressures are compounded by a severe spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the country and the loud voices of the national political machine pushing and pushing to return children back to the classrooms, despite the fact that the United States — that leads the nation currently in COVID-19 cases — just crossed the 150,000 dead threshold.

Many have taken to social media to decry one side or the other and push conspiracy theories that simply are not true.

It’s a lot to take in and is raising tensions most everywhere, but one place it cannot raise tensions is in the classroom.

We urge people to continue supporting our community educators and stem the confrontational tides of which we are seeing so much. Schools are a place of learning and should not be subjected to outside distractions where adults struggle to get along on the simplest of topics.

The stresses on educators are titanic. When was the last time you were forced to plan for three different scenarios that affected thousands of individuals, knowing that those plans may change at a moment’s notice?

In March, teachers and administrators were forced to use distance learning on the fly, and even though some schools had somewhat of a basis for moving to that form of education, it was still a monumental shift that left a lot of educational priorities off to the side.

We have to recognize these stresses and support school districts that are doing everything they possibly can to give your children the best education they can possibly get under whatever circumstances they are faced with. What they don’t need are the constant drums of negative comments from a community that should be behind them all the way.

 

About Editorial Board

The Editorial Board of the Albert Lea Tribune comprises Scott Schmeltzer, Tim Engstrom and Sarah Stultz.

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