Reading and Writing Our Way Forward
By Jazlyn Villaman, 8th Grade
With nearly 190,000 confirmed CO-VID19 cases, New York City leads the nation's fight against coronavirus. In March, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio decided to close all public schools until April 20th. Schools should stay closed until we determine what works and what does not. Without a cure available, it's important for students and staff to prioritize health and safety. As we know, schools are hotspots because kids can get sick very easily and spread their germs to others who come from different areas of the city. While school closures will leave some students struggling to do work from home, the decision is good for the longterm and might even prepare you for remote learning tasks in college.
In a recent article by the New York Post, Julia Marsh writes that "the mayor had been still stubbornly repeating his opposition to the move, insisting he was 'very resistant' to shut down the largest school system in the country because of such things as leaving health care and emergency services workers scrambling for child care.” On the other hand, an article in Science Magazine by Jennifer Couzin Frankel predicted that “closing schools is likely to be a major step in slowing the spread of COVID-19 among students, staff members, and those around them. These quotes show both sides of the situation. Even though it's not an easy change, our current data supports that closing schools in New York keeps students safe from the virus and protects others in the community.
Aside from the health-related importance of distance learning, learning from home will help students work in a different way. According to a recent article in Purdue University Global , “the convenience and flexibility of online learning allows you to study any time, virtually anywhere you have an internet connection." The article suggests that this type of learning environment is
an "ideal solution" for people who benefit from flexible schedules. For example, online learning makes it easy for you to pause for a break or replay content to refresh your memory. This is important because not everyone learns in the same way. A recent article in The Community College Review claims that "not only do students learn in different ways, but they learn at different paces as well.” Though many students will find it hard to transition, these sources help highlight the benefits of remote learning such as reduced stress and flexible opportunities. Furthermore, online learning is useful because it prepares you for the future. Most importantly, it's just safer for everyone involved.
Some people oppose closing NYC schools because it’s something unexpected. The New York Times recently noted that “there is also the obvious downside of disruptions to education. Some schools can move to online learning, but not all are prepared. Not all students have access to the internet at home, let alone computers or devices with which they can actively participate in e-learning.” However these positions do not consider the benefits of remote learning. Learning from home works for students who struggle in school sometimes and is better for some people's emotional health. Remote learning allows students to decide the pace and time they want to dedicate to the work for themselves.
Due to the data available about how coronavirus spreads and the technological advantages of the modern day, schools in New York should stay closed. This stance is best for students who will learn better knowing they are safest at home. Students in New York City can practice new skills for studying and learning that works for them. Before, we only had one option: traditional classroom teaching. Though some people will argue that learning from home will cause students to struggle, we should consider how remote learning is forcing us to use technology in a way that prepares students for the future. Today, our city has had more deaths than any other in the United States. This likely includes students and teachers. Returning to schools can contribute to more losses. There are still many questions about the virus that even the experts have not figured out. The best learning happens when you are healthy and safe. For New York City, right now that means staying home and opening your Chromebook.