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Editorial: Survey says: Parents want their kids learning in a classroom

The results of the survey were staggering. Make no doubt about it, parents want to see their kids in school learning, even during a global pandemic.
We believe the Ely school district needs to make every effort to get kids back in class as soon as possible. Seems simple doesn’t it? But it’s not as easy as it seems.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that we have a lot to learn about COVID-19. The impact and spread of the disease is something that seems to be changing on a regular basis.
What that leaves us with is numbers, hard data being made available to the public. Those numbers tell us that children from zero to 18 are the least impacted by the virus.
Some states, including Minnesota, believe lockdowns are the solution instead of targeting those most vulnerable. This virus is a menace for those 65 and older, especially those living in long term care facilities where two-thirds of the deaths in Minnesota have occurred.
That’s why it really wasn’t a big surprise that parents believe their children will be safe in school. They also know distance learning was more of a failure than a success earlier this year.
And there’s not doubt with all the protocols in place the school is safer for kids than just about any place else.
A survey - conducted by a parent representative of the school’s safe learning advisory group - showed overwhelming support for in-person learning.
The results showed that 86 percent of elementary parents preferred in-person learning, eight percent supporting hybrid, and five percent for distance.
The high school numbers showed 64 percent support for in-person, 29 percent for hybrid and seven percent for distance.
The parents are in favor of in-person learning but school superintendent Erik Erie said last week that teachers and staff are more likely to be opposed.
Erie said that faculty preferences have shifted in the last two weeks, pointing to a survey of faculty showing that a majority of local teachers are no longer comfortable with in-person learning.
We know teachers are being asked to go above and beyond in the classroom this year, especially when they have to teach the kids in front of them and the kids at home, often at the same time.
If there are more safeguards that need to be put in place to make teachers feel safe during the pandemic, then by all means make it so.
Vaccines may be on the horizon but until our students are back in the classroom full time, their education suffers. The vast majority of parents have made that known.

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