A new 92-page report ‒ commissioned by seven groups, including the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute ‒ examines the challenges parents, teachers and students face with the continued reliance on remote learning amid school closings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The recommendation is to open schools and bring kids back into the classroom as quickly as possible,” John Bailey with the American Enterprise Institute said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
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The report, which relied on data gathered from 130 studies, said some children are experiencing a “severe” learning loss and that pandemic-created challenges will lead to lower earnings for some Americans in the future. Some states, including Florida, reopened most schools months ago while others continue to embrace a remote learning model.
“It is vitally important to weigh the public health benefits of school closures against the academic and social-emotional costs suffered by students, families and society as a whole,” the report authors said.
President Biden has vowed to return many K-8 students to class by the end of April. However, the administration has faced repeated questions about why high school students are not receiving the same priority for returning.
In his primetime address Thursday evening, the president insisted more schools will be reopened in the weeks ahead.
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“We can accelerate the massive, nationwide effort to reopen our schools safely and meet my goal, that I stated at the same time about 100 million shots, of opening the majority of K-8 schools in my first 100 days in office. This is going to be the No. 1 priority of my new secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona,” Biden said.
Some school districts have pushed to delay reopening efforts because of concerns about the health and safety of students and teachers. Yet the report referenced above indicates schools can safely reopen by using common sense COVID-19 protocols, including enhanced cleaning and social distancing.
“Evidence points to schools mirroring the transmission rates of their communities. Schools themselves do not appear to drive community transmission,” said the authors of the study.