I read Paula Matzke’s commentary, “Connecticut’s plan for reopening schools is a disaster in the making,” and was deeply disturbed by her lack of insight.
As a mom of three, ages 6 years, 3 years, and 4 months, I have been at the front of the distance learning adventure since our district closed on March 13. I would like to enlighten Matzke as to some of the real life challenges distance learning presents for the youngest learners, kindergarteners.
I strongly disagree with her theory that distance learning simply needs more thought and planning to be successful for students. Young children cannot possibly be expected to navigate educational apps and complete work without continuous adult supervision. By their very nature they are curious and easily distracted.
Most troubling for me about Matzke’s article is her complete lack of acknowledgment regarding the social and emotional toll the disruption of in-person school has had on children. Humans are social beings. Children cannot possibly develop necessary social skills and emotional connection without physically being around their peers. The American Academy of Pediatrics “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
I also wonder whether Matzke has considered that while alcohol sales are up, and children are at home, the reports of child abuse and neglect are down. Many children have a safe place to call home and to complete their academic school work. Many others have been stuck at home in less than ideal situations with no teachers or other school personnel to check in on them.
I would urge Matzke, as well as anyone else with interest in this matter, to truly consider all sides of this difficult issue. My desire for children to return to in-person classes has less to do with academics or what would be convenient for adults. It has much to do with the emotional well being of a whole generation of children.
Julianne Guarnieri lives in South Windsor.