Miamon Queeglay's statement on COVID and reopening schools
CREATING A HEALTHY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT DURING THE PANDEMIC
"Like everyone else, I would love to see schools open again this fall, but our first priority must be the health and safety of our students, their families, our teachers and our staff. It's imperative that we face the realities of the Coronavirus pandemic and act accordingly. We must make flexible plans that can be revised and adapted depending on new information and the level of viral transmission in our district. We must heed the advice from public health experts and allow scientific evidence--not politics--to drive decision-making.
Reasonable criteria for and guidance about reopening schools for in-person learning have been provided by numerous trustworthy sources, including the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These resources recommend opening schools whenever and wherever the virus is contained, while taking all necessary steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Their point is that BOTH opening schools and keeping students out of school present risks to students and families. As an advocate for the community schools model that focuses on historically under-served populations, I completely agree with that assessment. We owe it to our students, families, teachers and staff to open our schools as quickly as advisable and make our schools as hygienic and safe as possible.
In the event that schools cannot be opened safely for in-person learning, the Osseo district has a responsibility to ensure teachers, students and parents are adequately resourced to make the most of online instruct-ion. Teachers must be assisted as they develop online curricula; students must be provided with a laptop or tablet computer if they don't have access to one at home, parents must be supported as they take on the difficult task of overseeing their child's educational progress--often while working full time out of their home. District leadership should be planful, flexible and absolutely dedicated to finding new ways to keep students learning in a safe and healthy environment, whether that be in class or online.
With my expertise in the intersection of public health and education, there has never been a better time for me to join the Osseo school board than during this pandemic. Join my campaign and let's create a healthy learning environment for every student!"
-- Miamon Queeglay
From COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry," a statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, June 25, 2020.
With [infectious disease control] principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.
Read the whole AAP statement HERE.