Written by Ainsley Jackman
The San Diego Unified School District announced last week that its schools will be online-only when students start again in August. Brian Maryott, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Congressional District 49, released a statement conveying his disappointment in this decision, noting that “distance learning is no substitute to quality, in-person instruction” and expressed his wish that parents should at least be given the option of in-person instruction for their children.
Maryott also touched on the possible long-term effects of the decision, especially on single-parent households with parents that couldn’t maintain usual work hours and care for their children at the same time: “Our community has many single parents who will be severely impacted by this policy ― It’s virtually impossible to work and provide educational oversight for a child during the day… It will take families years to recover.”
It’s clear, however, that student safety is Maryott’s first priority, and he believes precautions should be put in place to keep them healthy, but that shutting down in-person schooling altogether is not the way to do so. San Diego Unified School District is suggesting that student health and education are mutually exclusive, when it’s entirely possible to achieve both. Maryott cites well-known data indicating that most children are both completely safe from COVID-19 and are unlikely to infect others, but acknowledges that teachers and high-risk students should be especially protected.
Maryott’s middle ground is backed up by school districts all over the country—and even others in the Southern California area. They deem it unnecessary to keep safe and healthy children from continuing their education as effectively as possible when they are neither risking their own nor each other’s health. The idea is to allow and support those in need of a full quarantine, but not force it unnecessarily on the majority of students, for whom it does far more harm than good.
“San Diego County has the ability and the duty to create a plan that keeps everyone safe and provides students with the best possible education,” Maryott added. To demand parents and students choose one or the other is a false dichotomy, and he hopes that San Diego Unified School District rethinks this decision because “our kids deserve as much effort, creativity, and problem-solving ability as we can muster.”
To learn more about Brian Maryott and his congressional campaign, please visit MaryottForCongress.com.