Please increase the amount of in-person learning time for early elementary students

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Kristin Woods

Jan 11, 2021, 10:50:00 PM1/11/21

Dear Ms. Ben-Naim, Ms. Bernstein, Mr. Boerigter, Ms. Colgan and Ms. Jalbert,

I am writing to express my dismay at the proposed schedule outlined in the LAPS Parent Newsletter on January 6, 2021. While I appreciate the care, planning, and good intentions that have gone into the creation of this schedule, I do not believe that it appropriately balances the educational needs of younger elementary students with the safety from Covid-19 infection. Additionally, I do not believe that it reflects the current best science and recommendations from professionals. My child is a kindergarten student at Aspen Elementary School so my personal experiences are based on my observations of his behavior and needs.

Our personal experience has been that remote learning is not a conducive learning environment for a kindergartener. We believe that committing to a schedule that focuses the majority of learning in the online environment until the end of the school year will only exacerbate the difficulties that we have seen as a result of online instruction. The proposed schedule will also fail to provide quality in-person instruction to meet our child’s social and emotional needs both due to its brevity (less than 4 hours per week of total in-person instruction) and timing; I believe adding additional afternoon instruction after a full day of independent online learning will be a challenge for most kindergarteners. 

There is a growing consensus in the scientific literature that in-person instruction in elementary schools, under the right conditions, does not increase the likelihood of Covid-19 infection above existing community levels. Therefore, although the safety of students and LAPS staff is still paramount, limiting in-person learning as a public health measure to contain community spread is not justified. Decisions about in-person learning should be made based on the educational benefit versus risk calculation for each age group.

The educational needs of young elementary-school-aged children are unique and best met in an in-person educational environment. Studies have shown that high-quality early childhood education can contribute substantially to a child’s resilience and healthy development. Young children learn best in a hands-on, play-based environment that cannot be provided with any online curriculum, no matter how well-intentioned.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kristin Woods

Aspen parent 

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