Larry Bustetter | A Pre-COVID Learning Environment

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Subject: Keep the schools open with a pre-COVID-19 format. During a town hall phone call with our U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia, I was very encouraged to hear his clear support for fully opening our schools in the 25th Congressional District. The following comments are intended to urge school boards, faculty and teacher unions to build upon his admonition and deliver curriculum in a pre-COVID-19 format in support of our children and their parents. 

Decisions by our school districts must endorse both a mission and data-driven focus. It is our educators’ responsibility to fulfill a mission need to support the highest learning and development opportunities for all children (i.e., strong academics; good social and emotional health and safety, etc., in a mask-optional environment). When a mission dictates putting student needs above personal concerns (e.g., faculty IN the classroom as front-line deliverers of learning), that need must be the priority. Current data demonstrates the risks (very low coronavirus transmission and infection in K-12 students) and fosters the wisdom for protecting all children, including the most disadvantaged, from the impact of COVID-19 lockdown (now clearly invalidated by a recent Johns Hopkins University meta-study).   

Today, teachers signed on to meet the mission I’ve described. Current data show very low risk of infection to children and teachers (see American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to help parents respond to Centers for Disease Control 2022 relaxed masking mandates). As with military mission preparedness training, despite perceived or actual risks, mission-focused learning is essential in readying our children’s preparedness for life and as prospective members of the workforce. The recent 2022 JHU data-driven findings dictate a pre-COVID curriculum delivery format (especially for students 18 and under). Further, this format must also embrace recent expectations for parent review of curriculum content (e.g., NO highly controversial non-data-driven ideology such as Critical Race Theory or sexual identity). Our children’s development and learning experiences demand joint interactions by ALL stakeholders, especially parents, to assure successful pre-COVID-19 learning and development outcomes for children in the 25th Congressional District. 

Larry Bustetter

Santa Clarita

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