Dear Community Member,
We currently face a question that will define the overall trajectory of our communities for years to come. “Will we allow schools to re-open for in-person instruction with students?”. As a youth advocate, we believe it is necessary that students attend school in-person for the 2020-2021 school year. The threat to each child’s future and the threat to our community that is posed by elevating the risk of COVID-19 over other risk factors that our youth face is simply too great.
When considering the question of re-opening schools, community leaders must weigh the following expert opinions. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics “…the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy-time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often result in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality.”
Also, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state the following regarding the effect of school closures on at-risk youth, “Disparities in educational outcomes caused by school closures are a particular concern for low-income and minority students and students with disabilities. Many low-income families do not have the capacity to facilitate distance learning (e.g. limited or no computer access, limited or no internet access), and may have to rely on school-based services that support their child’s academic success….
Persistent achievement gaps that already existed before COVID-19, such as disparities across income levels and races, can worsen and cause serious, hard-to-repair damage to children’s education outcomes.”
We know that the lack of in-person schooling will only magnify existing achievement gaps as well as pose direct threats to an at-risk child’s current and future well-being. Therefore, we ask that you join us in the cause to protect our most vulnerable members, our children, by advocating for their opportunity to receive an education that is appropriate to their needs. Their future depends on it. Your advocacy at the local level is critical in keeping the Crossing operational in your community. Let’s handle the COVID-19 threat with care and attention, but we must do so while operating our schools as the safe place our students go daily to be educated, trained for their future of non-poverty work, and to be cared for by our incredible teachers.
Rob Staley, CEO
Ryan Hill, COO