Ever since the pandemic hit in March, school officials have faced difficult questions on how to safely educate the students.

Victoria school officials recently closed two elementary school campuses and sent students home for remote learning once large numbers of teachers were testing positive for COVID-19 or had to quarantine because of close contact with someone who had the disease.

As of Friday morning, the district had reported 81 cases of COVID-19 with students accounting for 49 cases and staff accounting for 32.

As the numbers continued to increase, the district’s officials on Nov. 13 announced they would close the two public high schools to on-campus learning and bring the elementary school students back to their home campuses starting Nov. 30.

The logic for this move makes sense and brings up two very important points.

Evidence shows elementary school students learn better in face-to-face settings than in remote learning.

Parents and teachers agree in-person learning works best for most of the children.

Teachers are trained to keep a student’s attention and to make it easier to learn.

Parents, on the other hand, do a great job teaching their child about life in general, but most do not have the patience or training to keep their child’s attention long enough to learn a concept.

Also, having a young child at home creates a child care problem with parents having to take off from work or work remotely to be home with their young child or they have to rrange for child care for the child during school hours.

Parents showed last spring they could adapt, but it wasn’t the best learning situation for the students.

The second point behind the closing of the high schools is to free up substitute teachers to go to the elementary schools to teach. This is a smart move.

The district is suffering from a shortage of substitutes, and with large numbers of teachers out with the virus or to quarantine, the district is struggling to keep up with the demand for subs.

Many of the regular substitutes have declined to work in the schools since the pandemic hit, cutting down the number of available subs to go around.

People have questioned the district’s moves in sending student home to learn remotely. When the elementary students were the ones going home, we scratched our heads wondering what other options there were.

But when the decision to close the high schools was announced, we agreed that made the most sense. High school students need less supervision and have greater access to electronics.

Also, campus officials can monitor the students to make sure they stay plugged in to the lesson at any given time of the day.

District officials are working hard to keep students and staff safe and healthy so the students can learn.

They are doing this with very little input from the Texas Education Agency, which has basically left the districts on their own to determine how to handle the illnesses on their campuses.

Victoria school district, the largest public school district in the Crossroads, should be used as an example to other schools large and small on how to handle the difficult decisions brought on by the pandemic.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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