Chicago’s Delicate Covid-19 Plan and the Future of Education

The current state of schooling in America at the moment is a complete mess. Zoom dominates classrooms all across the country and gives both students and teachers daily headaches; However, some school systems are trying to fix that. One of the latest attempts to fix the zoom academy situation comes from the Chicago school system which is one of the largest in America.

After months of talks between teachers and the public schools, a deal will soon be approved by the teacher’s union. The deal seeks to bring students back into physical classrooms in a staggered order that starts with the youngest kids and goes to eight grade. In order to prepare staff for the transition, covid vaccines will be given to over a thousand public school employees and high-risk individuals will get them first. Teachers who do not return to the classroom that do not have a medical exemption will keep their access to school systems. Finally, if the infection rate in the city of Chicago gets too high then the city will switch back to remote learning.

The move back to classrooms is imperative for many parents as the chaotic situation for parents with young kids has failed in many ways. One issue with the current situation is that many kids are learning key subjects through an electronic screen that has limited interactivity for young kids. Another issue is that tech issues plague all streaming classroom experiences and hamper the learning experience with the woes of modern tech. Distractions can also be a problem as younger kids are in their houses with the rest of their family that must stay at home as well. All these issues create an education environment that is shoddy at best for many kids.

Unfortunately, the prospect of coming back to school also has multiple issues. A big issue for the return to physical schooling is that an outbreak could break out in the school and undo months of progress within a few days. Vaccine rations are also a difficulty because everyone else is already fighting for vaccines, so the supply will be heavily strained with no backup vaccines. Teacher covid-19 diagnoses are another possible hiccup because the quarantining of a teacher would force an awkward digital class arrangement while the kids have the rest of their classes physically. Finally, if a teacher is unable to work due to a bad case of covid-19 who will replace them in times like these.

Even if the back to school plans go perfectly the entire system is resting on a thin wire. One outbreak will destroy the entire setup and force everyone home for months. Parents would go haywire if they just got used to physical school again and now have to reverse course. Teachers could also strike if the conditions they are working become unbearable or unfair rules are introduced.

The saddest part of this situation is the biggest victims are the students. Many of the students in this covid-19 generation are guaranteed to be years behind in math, science, and english. Students with issues paying attention are getting decimated right now due to the finicky class situations. Many students are probably feeling stressed more than usual being locked inside their houses while being given droning online work. The whiplash of the great online educational experiment will impact millions of American students for years to come.

The effects of covid-19 have created the greatest educational catch-22 in decades and there is still more to come.


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