Letter to the editor: One student’s view on school district response to coronavirus

Editor:

The Edmonds School District was not prepared for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) because they underestimated the disease. They didn’t designate a way for students to continue to their education if the disease got worse, and it did. When more than one case was diagnosed in Washington and the state eventually became the most infected state in the U.S, the district began to throw around the idea of online learning, “eLearning.” The idea barely went anywhere, leaving all students of the Edmonds School District without decent education for more than six weeks. Other districts across the country, including neighboring districts Northshore and Lake Washington, have implemented an online learning program that has had students learning for the last one or two weeks. Edmonds is still left without education.

There may be problems involved with eLearning ranging from cheating, learning disabilities, and distracted students watching Netflix while their online “class” is in session. If the district really decides to put this program into place and students’ previously hard-earned grades are altered based on their performance online, many different things could happen.

Students that cheat and use their phones for answers could get undeserved good grades and unmotivated, distractible students that have mediocre grades could fall further behind academically, making them even less likely to get into college or succeed in life. Also, less fortunate people with little or no access to the internet could fall severely behind with schoolwork and grades if all of school is internet-dependent.

These are some of the most prominent problems with education in the Edmonds School District right now due to the coronavirus outbreak. If the district does not act more quickly, all students will be in a great deal of academic trouble.

Andrew Young
Lynnwood

5 Replies to “Letter to the editor: One student’s view on school district response to coronavirus”

  1. Thank you Andrew for voicing your concerns about the district. I would like to hear from additional students and parents enduring this process. Now is the time to speak up.

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  2. It’s a tough time; strange world we’re living in these days. Everyone’s doing the best we can and (I believe) trying to stay positive in a really complex and difficult situation. I’ve been a little frustrated with ESD’s response, preparedness, and willingness to think outside the box… but we’ve been hearing from our kids’ 6th and 8th grade teachers and the ESD Supt on a pretty regular basis. The added communication has been a nice improvement. I’ve been especially frustrated with the State Supt (OSPI) who initially said the school year will be extended for students to make up some of the school days missed due to the school closures–but OSPI said kids won’t be in school any later than June 19. Um, ESD’s last day of school is already scheduled to be later than that! So it appears ESD students will not make up any of the missed time. How will this affect this year’s grades, progress on meeting core requirements, and most importantly, students who are trying to prepare for college applications, advanced tests, and graduation? I was pleased to see the OSPI change their tune a little and mandate that e-learning is required statewide by March 30. It’s my understanding that ESD will be launching some new educational resources remotely beginning next Monday. Details have not been announced, so we don’t know how grading or testing will be done, and so many other things. But to their credit, ESD appears to have been working at this and they’ll be making an attempt to engage students more soon. For young kids, I think it’s unrealistic to assume that e-learning is going to be very effective. I’ve been pressing my kids to work a lot on math, reading, and writing, which are all pretty easy to do remotely and independently.

    Here’s hoping ESD is successful in bringing kids to their screens (yay, more screen time!) for improved learning options in the coming weeks. Could this be what we’re dealing with for the rest of the school year? Geez I hope not. Fingers crossed for significant improvements in the public health outlook in the next few weeks.

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  3. Spot on Andrew! I have been asking the same question. My grandkids live in Edmonds but go to a private school in North Shoreline. Their school closed the afternoon of March 9 and they were online being taught at 8:10 am March 11. They say they have had tons of homework. Edmonds knew the schools were to be closed until April 24 so what have they been doing? Isn’t the school district in the business of educating our students?

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    1. There are examples of other area districts that were prepared to meet the needs of students. Northshore, Lake Washington, and Seattle within a few days with a plan. We are now well into this crisis with ESD talking about March 30th. Pre-K teacher at Holy Rosary is presenting through you tube to keep her class engaged.

      I believe it would be extremely beneficial to know any innovative ways teachers in the ESD in elementary, middle and high school have come up with to engage your kids. From the ESD response it appears completely up to each teacher. Please share your stories with MEN.

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  4. I’m glad that we are all sharing our opinions. There are definitely issues with online learning as Andrew pointed out. The main goal of online learning is to provide the opportunities for students to progress in gaining the subject matter knowledge that they need to complete their coursework and meet grade level or graduation requirements or qualify for the college credits that they can earn through high school. By sidestepping and not providing the proper resources in a timely fashion, students who were working on skills become rusty and the momentum that they had developed during the school year lapses. It will be difficult to meet the needs of all student through this format. However, by declining to or delaying attempts to do so, we are in a sense saying, if all students can’t succeed this way, then none should. If our world only was the Edmonds school district, then perhaps just picking up where we left off as if we had an early summer would be acceptable to some. However, we are putting our students at a disadvantage compared to other students in the nation and the world who are not having a lapse in education. Our School District Leaders need to have a wider view of the consequences of this and provide the resources so that families and students have opportunities to continue their learning. It is good that underprivileged students are now being given the resources such as chrome books and internet hotspots. They will also require ongoing support to get these resources set up and functional. If no one in their family has operated a computer or the internet, simply giving them the machine and a hotspot will not result in that resource being effectively utilized. This is something that in the goals of providing equity in education should have been in place before this pandemic. We must find a way to provide support to these students and families in a safe manner.

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