Training justice teams name for “equitable and secure education” throughout covid surge
A dozen local social and educational justice organizations have made a statement on “fair and safe education” during the Covid-19 bumps. The organizations are alarmed by the unprecedented and rising number of Covid cases being reported from schools and are calling for a mixed approach to reopening schools.
The organizations are calling for both personal learning for those with special needs and children whose families need a personal school for childcare and other services, AND solid distance learning for families who want to get involved in the school community but are unsure of health and safety conditions of schools.
At the heart of the message from these organizations is that all options “must be explicitly anti-racist and primarily target the health and humanity of young people, their families, educators, school staff and our communities”.
- High quality distance learning opportunities for students and families who need it. Demands of the youth as to how this can best be achieved include:
- Create a solid curriculum that will ensure that students are REALLY supported and assisted during distance learning
- Project-based assessments instead of tests, if possible, if tests are carried out, these assessments should be taken home
- Postpone midterms in secondary school until they can be authentically project-based and take assessments home with you
- Grant pass / fail for course credit as long as the pandemic continues to disrupt academic learning
- Accessible and compulsory weekly in-school tests for all students and staff at the school
- Consistently enforced health and safety protocols including masking in schools and class size limits to enable and maintain physical distance
- Provision of high quality masks such as verified KN95s or KF94s and free test kits for use at home for students, families and school staff
- Maintaining clear guidelines regarding quarantine and contact tracing processes for students and staff
- Improved ventilation and / or air filter systems
- Clear, consistent and linguistically appealing communication with students, families and school staff. Demands of the youth as to how this can best be achieved include:
- Providing more information about vaccines and vaccination clinics and providing enough free test kits / sites to students, families and school staff
- Communicate in multiple formats and languages to help teens, families, and school staff practice effective mask wearing, frequent hand washing and disinfecting, and other public health and safety measures that help curb the spread of COVID-19
- Regularly survey youth, families, and school staff to learn more about how schools and local and state agencies can better support them
“We are facing unique challenges as a society in these times,” said the organizations. “We must meet these challenges by rethinking our schools, social services and systems as a whole. In helping young people learn, we must also create a world in which they will grow into leaders. We owe nothing less to them than the thoughtful intention that we hope to have conveyed here.
“We call on Governor McKee, other elected leaders and officials to work with the communities to do what is right and necessary.”
The groups that will sign the declaration include: DEVELOP, Parents who lead for educational justice (TOILET), PRYSM (Providence Youth Student Movement), Rhode Island Urban Debate League, A guided tour, YOUNG VOICES, Youth in Action, A sweet creation, CIRCUIT, Providence Student Association (power adapter), STEAM box, and the Center for Justice.
Here is the full statement: