White House Press Conference Hinting That Schools May Not Be Completely Re-Opened Next Fall?

An unanswered question about keeping schools open next fall have many parents worried about the next school year.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

Pediatricians Say Children With Head Lice Should Remain In School

keeping schools open

At a recent press conference the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about keeping schools open in the fall. Her response was not promising. Instead of answering this simple, yet pressing question — that many parents are asking — she rushed off without a proper response

Although the COVID-19 threat is virtually minimalized, some concerns have been raised being that children under 5 cannot yet receive the vaccine. Throughout the pandemic children have not been at much risk of catching the virus, being hospitalized for it, and deaths among children are rare. Many public school teachers across the nation were required to receive the experimental emergency vaccine before it finished standard clinical trials. This became a trend within many businesses last year and workers sued. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring the COVID-19 shot was unconstitutional for those in professions outside of the medical industry. Yet, any teacher who feels at a higher risk of contracting the virus from working with children can elect to get vaccinated. This was a key element of keeping schools open at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. 

Going into the 2022-2023 class schedule, keeping schools open is still the main goal of many parents, teachers, and students. Virtual learning led to mass learning loss, to the point that a large portion of students — in states where academics were still held to traditional standards during the height of the pandemic — have been held back a year. Schools that continued virtual learning for longer had the largest enrollment drops, proving that most families prefer in-person learning opportunities. 

The fact that the White House has no comment on keeping schools open is highly concerning. Although some COVID fears remain, some schools have decided to switch to virtual learning due to other factors as well. School violence is on the rise. There is plenty of speculation as to why. One of the main indicators is the rise in mental health issues after isolation from virtual learning. Youth suicide attempts skyrocketed during the lockdowns, and public schools do not have enough counselors to aid the situation. 

Staffing shortages are being felt in every state in the nation. This does not just affect the classroom. Administration, including school counselors and nurses are understaffed and in demand. Keeping schools open is a key ingredient to offering children a sense of community and the normalcy needed to enjoy a healthy learning environment. Despite this, New York City is launching fully virtual schools, and numerous schools throughout the country have forced students back into virtual learning over safety concerns pertaining to violence and threats of violence. 

In addition, due to rising gas prices and inflation, some public schools and colleges are switching to a 4-day school week, or integrated virtual learning for select days of the week. This will keep schools open, and cut costs, but once again relies heavily on virtual studies. Whereas college students may have the maturity levels to successfully complete virtual coursework, children in lower grades have not fared so well, especially after schools shut down during lockdowns. 

keeping schools open

Most parents and educators agree that keeping schools open is essential to the health and well-being of young students. Whether the White House comments on this or not, how the 2022-2023 school year is taught affects millions of American families. Many are questioning what direction the public education system will be taking starting this fall.