Ad Spot

A return to school is about far more than just a child’s education

I’ve been reading perspectives on kids returning to school. For the most part, it has been entirely focused on the COVID-19 associated risk, with the points of view running from the concerned to the hysterical.

I’m not in the camp that believes COVID-19 is a myth and we all should just get over the hype. I do, however, believe that there are influential people willing to leverage anything available to forward their particular agenda. My real concern here is the holistic health of our children — physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.

I’ll leave the medical part to people trained, educated, and experienced in addressing the virus. For my part, I trust the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams.

There are three areas of concern that I think are being lost in the discussion:

• Schools are the primary source of food for many children

• Schools are some children’s only safe place

• The risk of some children’s education being irreparably compromised.

First, like it or not, school is where many children go to eat. Breakfast and lunch at school is their primary, if not only, food source. You can argue all the ways of how and why that shouldn’t be, but I’m focused on what is true instead of what we wish was true. Various groups (e.g., individuals, churches, the ‘Y’, and others) are doing the Lord’s own work by trying to stand in the breach on this, but it doesn’t reach every child affected. This is not imagined. Wherever you live, I promise you there are children in your community that are included in this group.

Second, schools are some children’s only safe place. We all wish every child had a safe, welcoming home where they are valued and protected. Sadly, this is not the case. Just like the kids that are hungry, there are children in every community for whom home is an exercise in survival. The threat may be physical or emotional, it may be a family member or “friend,” it may be in the house/apartment or an environmental risk (think sitting on the floor instead of the furniture to avoid errant gunfire). Whatever it is, home is not their safe place — school is their safe place.

Third, many children’s academic progress is already impacted, and another semester (or two) of the current arrangement will permanently compromise their chance for a decent education. We all are aware of the impact of summer vacations on most children. Teachers start each school year trying to appraise where their kids are academically, review and recover from where they were at the end of the previous year, and only then start out on the new year (in many cases already behind on the requisite skill measures).

Children all across the country finished the spring semester in some form of distance learning. A very small group of children, in select homes with every advantage, did fine and will move right along. Most children were impacted to some degree, and some children essentially lost a semester. Parents were stretched thin. Teachers trying to do everything via “distance learning” were trying hard. But it wasn’t the same as being in school.

The longer most children are out of school, the harder it will be to recover — some never will.

So, as we consider and discuss sending our kids back to school let’s have the whole conversation. Risk in life is never a single channel. There are always competing risks requiring some degree of flexibility and compromise.

Please keep in mind that for many of our children school is their only chance. That principal and those teachers are not just transmitting information. They are, like it or not, for many children, the only hands reaching out to help them move forward. Be very careful about denying them that opportunity.

 

Guest column submitted by Vicksburg resident Tom Tankersley.

Crime

Police looking for individual involved in Saturday shooting

Local

After spike, four new COVID-19 cases reported in Warren County and one death

Local

Legislature returns to Jackson Monday

Crime

Three face murder charges in trooper’s death

Crime

One of two Jefferson Davis County escapees caught

Local

Photo Gallery: Malcom Butler School Supply Giveaway

BREAKING NEWS

Warren County sets one-day record with 56 COVID-19 cases

Crime

Traffic stop results in arrest on firearms charge

Local

For Sally Green, art was obviously in her blood

Business

Obedience course helps turn rowdy pups into very good boys and girls

Local

Flaggs seeks to keep city’s upcoming budget close to $30 million

BREAKING NEWS

Missing Vicksburg mother and daughter are safe

Local

Mayor closes pavilion in Marcus Bottom for COVID-19 violations

Local

Deadline approaching for paying back property taxes

Downtown Vicksburg

Kolb was truly a great ambassador for the city of Vicksburg

Business

Supervisors delay tax break decision for Cooper Lighting after learning of job cuts

Local

Saying goodbye to St. Francis was something Nosser never thought she would do

Local

Video: Fire from burning pallets spreads, damages historic bridge

Local

Fire burns wooden bridge on Fairground Street

Business

1.2 million seek jobless aid after $600 federal check ends

Local

Emergency units respond to early morning accident on Grange Hall Road

Local

Lack of PPE forces VWSD Trustees to delay school reopening

Local

Walmart, Salvation Army team up for ‘Stuff the Bus’

Crime

Teenager arrested, charged in connection to attempted carjacking