The end of the 2019-2020 school year was characterized by the hit of COVID-19, shutting down in-person learning and sending children to remote education. As the new school year began in Autumn of 2020, there were new systems in place — masking when kids had to be on-campus, online classes, and even hotspots and laptops distributed to students in some areas who had no access to technology. Now, the 2020-2021 school year doesn’t look promising for in-person learning, as the Delta variant and rampant denialism hit the nation in concert.
Schools that have tried to put rules in place to protect their students are getting pushback from parents (and sometimes staff) who oppose mask rules and social distancing measures. The effects of denialism are on full display, with parents even caught on tape threatening medical professionals for their testimony.
However, even where masks and other precautions are implemented, they may prove insufficient. Only days into the school year, the hazards of in-person schooling during a pandemic are already showing.
In Palm Beach County, Florida, after only two days of classes, 440 students are on at-home quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, after over 100 students and 26 employees tested positive for the virus, across 60 different facilities and schools, according to CBS. The district does not currently have an option for quarantined children to access virtual learning, and they will instead be expected to make up their work.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, schools in four districts have put a pause on in-person learning due to their high numbers of COVID-19 cases, WCLJ is reporting. Other, larger, districts report temporarily closing some individual schools, and quarantining hundreds of students.
Many districts across the country have not yet started their school year, and those that are in session have barely begun, but the effects of the Delta variant on younger children make this round of the pandemic an even greater obstacle for schools than it has been so far.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com