Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | public schools | online learning | private schools

As Public Schools Go Virtual This Fall, Parents Eye Private Schools

a health worker wearing protective gear disinfects a classroom
(Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 27 July 2020 04:07 PM

Pricey private schools are planning to reopen this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic. Many parents who can afford the $26,866 national average cost of tuition are planning to switch their kids from public to private schools so that they can return to work. Parents also feel that virtual learning will be a disaster for their children and prefer a classroom situation.

Private schools say that they are more capable of dealing with COVID-19 guidelines and safety issues because of their limited size and independence, so they feel confident that classrooms can at least partially reopen this fall.

According to The Washington Post, this all could change if the coronavirus numbers continue to climb, but experts say that private schools are in a better position to adapt to changing healthcare policies than  public schools. Their campuses are typically large and class sizes are smaller, making social distancing easier to enforce.

“Our schools are able to make decisions for one institution and one community only and that allows them to change course quickly,” said Amy McNamer, executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, the umbrella organization for 76 private schools in the area. President Donald Trump’s son, 14-year-old Barron, attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal, a private school in Maryland. According to the Post, President Trump said he was comfortable with his son returning to the classroom.

Private school teachers, however, are not on the same page. Unlike public school teachers who have a union that has pushed for virtual reopening of classrooms, private school educators across the country have anonymously signed a statement of concern regarding the reopening of schools.

“Our campuses are being set up to disappoint our students and place them in an environment that ultimately puts their mental and physical health in constant risk,” the teachers wrote.

The educators said that investing in “plexiglass, touchless devices, and classroom cameras that try to recreate typical classrooms as hybrid learning labs,” is an experiment that may put many lives at risk and ultimately show just how deadly the coronavirus can be.

“We believe that it is our duty to share publicly that placing our students in classrooms this fall is an unsafe, pedagogically unsound, and ultimately unethical course of action,” the statement added.

Myra McGovern, with the National Association of Independent Schools, tells CNBC that with smaller class sizes, private school should have more flexibility enforcing COVID-19 recommended guidelines.

“Many people may need their children to be in school s they can work,” she said, adding that private schools have seen an uptick in inquiries about admissions. On the flip side, McGovern said that with record unemployment and many parents losing their jobs, some parents may no longer be able to afford private school education.

“It still remains to be seen what will happen, but we are hopeful that the influx of inquiries will counterbalance families deciding not to enroll,” she said, according to CNBC.

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Pricey private schools are planning to reopen this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic. Many parents who can afford the $26,866 national average cost of tuition are planning to switch their kids from public to private schools so that they can return to work.
public schools, online learning, private schools
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2020-07-27
Monday, 27 July 2020 04:07 PM
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