Okaloosa County students did online school for months at the end of last school year.
For many, their mental health deteriorated and learning ceased during that time. Parents and teachers were given the option of online or brick and mortar (b+m) school at the beginning of this school year. The majority of parents that chose b+m school weighed the risks of Covid-19, but what we didn’t realize was the effect that quarantine would have on our students’ education and mental health.
There are hundreds of students missing weeks of instruction at a time, not to mention sporting and social events. Some students have been quarantined multiple times which equates to an entire month (or more) of no school. To watch your A’s and B’s drop to D’s and F’s is demoralizing.
Quarantining students has made teaching unnecessarily much more difficult. Most teachers chose to teach in b+m schools as opposed to online. They weighed the risk of catching Covid-19 when deciding to teach face to face.
However, they are having to divide their teaching between in-person and online because of quarantined students. Some teachers are retiring or quitting with no notice. This puts undue strain on those that stay, as well as the administration. Teachers end up with crowded classrooms which means even more kids will be put on quarantine if the policy continues.
If a student is sick, they should go home until better as it has always been. I am advocating for kids with no signs of sickness to be able to stay at school and participate in all activities. I am advocating for the mental health of children. Poor mental health in children becomes self-harm and suicide which are far more dangerous than Covid-19.
I’m sure that there are people who disagree, but am also sure that the majority of those have not had a child quarantined. I would wager that the majority of parents of a child quarantined would agree that the Health Department should allow the Okaloosa County School District to stop quarantining “close contacts”.
Ben Myers, Crestview