Require schools for military kids to implement remote instruction

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is requiring most of the schools it operates—here and overseas—to reopen and offer in-person instruction five days a week despite a resurgence of COVID-19 in many of those places. Students exposed to COVID-19 at school could bring the virus home and infect their parents, which could have a devastating impact on our nation’s military readiness. DoDEA educators are eager to return to their schools and see their students, but are concerned about safety—specifically, the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the feasibility of social distancing, and adequate staffing levels.

Rather than risk an in-person opening of DoDEA schools, remote instruction should be implemented for many reasons: it would provide time to address staffing needs, procure PPE, develop realistic cleaning procedures, and educate students and their parents about their options. DoDEA has promised to expand the Virtual School Program created before the pandemic—which provides specialized content and requires students to enroll for an entire semester—but planning and staffing remain in flux. Instead, DoDEA schools should open remotely when the new school year starts.

Email your senators and representative and ask them to require schools for military kids to implement remote instruction.

92 responses to “Require schools for military kids to implement remote instruction

  1. Reopening schools with face-to-face classroom instruction is a recipe for disaster.Please have a heart and open virtually.

  2. DODEA has always prided itself in offering a continuum of services to our military students. DODEA is not telling parents the truth! We are having to backfill classrooms with our reading, math, and gifted specialists which means students who need more support, different support, will not receive it. DODEA is not permitting substitutes to be hired to fill behind those teachers pulled for virtual school. DODEA is not permitting teachers to be hired(even temporary) to keep our class sizes low. Our numbers in our classrooms are increasing. We can’t social distance. This is not education- this is a huge disservice to our students. It’s a shame! DODEA has pulled too many teachers out of schools without paying attention to the cost to those in brick and mortar. Our students deserve better! Why is Congress allowing our military families to be lied to? Why is the Pentagon not concerned about the lies being told to them by the DODEA Director?

  3. We are not ready, Dodea has given it a great try. However, far too many things are up in the air. The students will suffer with this forced rapid start. Grateful for the virtual school option, but that has left schools in chaos. The virtual school teachers aren’t ready either. It is ridiculous to try and start on Monday. Just postpone the start or open remotely so we have time to get this right and keep everyone safe!

  4. Classroom sizes has increased on my grade level and the rooms are too small.
    Not enough space between student desks to keep a safe distance.
    What are we suppose to do?

    1. There are lots of reasons we should not have brick and mortar schooling in the midst of a deadly pandemic. No child or adult’s life is worth the risk.

  5. This is unacceptable at every level and only reinforces the fact that learning and education are not the focus of reopening. If parents truly cared, if management truly cared, the focus would be on spending time to roll out a comprehensive remote learning plan. Instead 3 days before school starts they are SCRAMBLING to force educators and students into a too small, unsafe, impossible to sanitize properly environment at ALL COST! No cafeteria plan. No space to navigate hallways. No safe plan for locker usage. Plus, they want the educator to teach, clean, give mask breaks, give outside breaks (cause the bldg is not air conditioned and it’s boiling hot), and try not to pass out themselves. I suppose we should also do it with a smile. #theydontcareaboutus
    They know it won’t work, but remain committed to the foolishness of it all!

    1. We need to keep our military families, students, teachers, staff & administrators safe! We don’t want any one sick or to die due to unsafe conditions! Not one life is worth the risk! Remote school shows we love our military communities!

    2. Basic safety precautions such as hand washing stations at all entrances to the school buildings are not available because of a lack of funding/ planning.
      Even the “watered down” version CDC‘s guidelines are not being followed.
      The situation is worsening in plain sight and our political leaders aren’t taking action.
      Does anyone know why?
      Is the economy really worth the lives of our and America’s family and its democracy?

  6. DODEA is approaching opening their schools world wide in a one size fits all approach. There has been no differentiation between Early Childhood classes and high school classes. Masks and gallons of hand sanitizer will not keep students and teachers safe. Teachers have not been included in the decision making which has come from the top down. Parents are being made to think their children will be safe at school. However safety measures are not yet in place. Please stop DODEA from opening schools until safety measures can be put in place and staff members are able to be involved in planning and implementing the safety measures.

  7. Tricare will be quickly overwhelmed should you decide to force children, teachers, and staff back into the overseas schools. Think of THAT! Remote only.

  8. I believe that remote learning at this time in the pandemic is the only safe option. Teachers have been left out of the equation for decision making and that in itself is an outrage. Maybe Congress and leaderships open the schools with the half-hazarded approach by districts to ready facilities and see how it feels going in with minimal protection. Masks aren’t even agreed upon as the best protection. I believe that men once again are deciding what is best for teachers when they have no clue—and the majority of teachers are women. It is so easy to put someone else’s life on the line when it isn’t yours. Most schools are going in with a clinical feel for elementary grades. In comparison, British schools are making an attempt to make school re-entry fun, colorful and set up plexiglass so that students feel comfortable.

    Please, pretend these are your kids, you wife, daughter or son who is teaching and remain cautious and prudent and actually caring towards educators and their need for safety as well as the students they teach.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with you Steph. Here is how I have been looking at it: I hear people say how minutely covid affects children, and in small percentages. Consider this please. If there was a gunman entering an elementary school, and we had the ability to stop him, but we knew that there was only one student in the building that day, would we just let the gunman in? Because it’s “only one child?” Obviously no we would not. We would fight for the one. It doesn’t matter how small the percentage. We know of ways to protect our kids from this illness. We need to do just that by keeping schools closed until this virus has all but flatlined.

  9. We are opening with questionable social distancing. If too many children get sick, they may infect their families including soldiers. This would negatively affect military readiness. If a large number of cases happen at once we could affect COVID numbers and cause an outbreak in our host nation. This would cause an international incident similar to what happened in Okinawa earlier this year.

  10. There should be an option to bring our kids with us if we’re reopening. If county schools aren’t going full time teachers and staff need options to help us.

  11. We aren’t prepared to open safely (PPE, social distancing plans, etc.). Lives are at stake. Schools are petri dishes no matter how hard we try. Of course educators of military children understand the mission comes first, but when kids get sick, it WILL spread to parents and throughout the base, this threatening the mission. DoDEA has virtual school capability and computers for families. There is no need for students, teachers, or their family members to die!

  12. It’s too soon to open. We’re not ready to do it safely. We don’t have the necessary resources in place yet, and in some cases will not get them unless we purchase and build ourselves. I’m talking about clear plastic barriers. They are found literally anywhere in my military community where adult person-to-person contact, one-on-one and masked, may take place: cashier checkout, drive-thru, post office, vehicle registration office, even the school offices, BUT you won’t see them in our classrooms of 20-30 kids in any grade higher than third. They were not put on order. Why? Because somehow these students, many as young as 9 years old, are supposedly able to socially distance themselves in such large groups better than adults visiting the post office or base exchange. Unacceptable. Please, allow to open the year and teach our children remotely.

  13. It is too early to open schools with safe protocols and comprehensive plans in place. This is too risky for all stake holders involved.

    1. No. Kids should be I.macbook receiving face to face to face instruction. Especially in foreign environments where they have no friends.

  14. There is always another day and way to teach and learn, but when someone dies that day or chance will never come for them. Life is worth preserving.

  15. Reopening schools in the middle of a pandemic is reckless and irresponsible. If safety measures like plexiglass, PPE equipment, and smaller class sizes had been put in place, I would have felt good about the safety of teachers and children and felt much more comfortable with face-to-face instruction. However, none of these things have been implemented. You see where that leaves us.

  16. Dear Sir,

    Have you every thought to yourself, “Where will the powers that be have their children when schools open?” I can guarantee you they will be at home. They will not be placed in a school with 20 to thirty students in a classroom.
    We already know that there are at least 40% of Americans who say that Covid is a Hoax and do not believe they should be made to wear a mask. Which means that those parents will have their child in schools without a mask as well. The blatant disregard for everyones’ safety is disheartening. Why wait until someone has died to pull the plug on this insanity. Before any of our children, educators, soldiers, airmen, sailors or others lose their life, put a stop to this. Vote to teach remotely. Let’s live another decade.

  17. I feel very strongly about DoDEA’s decision to select both a face to face and remote learning options, instead of a remote learning option only for the current School Year. We’ve already witnessed what happens when people gather in groups, don’t wear masks, and don’t practice social distancing.

    As teachers will be on the frontline during face to face learning without testing and PPE it put teachers, students, and staff at great risk every day and that’s a cause for great concern Considering the rapid speed in which the virus spreads.

  18. My home of record is Michigan.
    As a constituent, a DoDEA educator, and supporter of our military families, I believe that the health and safety of everyone in our community needs to be the priority. There are too many risks and too many unknowns with this virus for face to face instruction in our schools, especially when class numbers have not been reduced, social distancing is not feasible, and students are not being required to wear masks at all times. This puts all students and staff at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19, possibly infecting others at home, some who are at high risk. This would also have detrimental effects on our military. Our schools need to begin the school year with remote learning, which would allow students and teachers to work in a safe environment.

  19. I feel that opening the schools could be detrimental to the mission. Sick children will infect parents who will not be able to work. And imagine this happening in Asia and Europe at the same time. This will compromise entire country. Not to mention are international relationships with her house countries. When we are the one spreading the virus and causing their numbers to rise. It’s already happened in Japan and Korea. Every single building on base requires adults and children to wear masks. However this will be very difficult and in some cases not implemented in the classrooms. How could this even be feasible, and acceptable. nor the building on base is loud to have more than 20 people in a room and we were considering putting 20+ children in each classroom. It’s unbelievable. We need to postpone the opening of school long enough to get our remote learning set up. This will save lives and save the mission. It’s all about the mission. That’s why the DODEA Teachers are here. And we want to remain here to do our job. We want to live, we want to teach our next generation of children. People will die. We know this. Please talk to the other senators in Congress people. Do not stop fighting for what is right. This is about money we know this. But it’s really about the health and safety of the mission. Keep this in mind when you speak to your fellow colleagues. Please for the love of God do it right. God bless America, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Don’t let a few people make decisions that are going to possibly have Catastrophic consequences. Thank you for your time. I speak for thousands!

  20. Dear State Representative,

    Mounting evidence suggests that small airborne particles called aerosols can linger in stagnant air for hours, helping transmit the virus indoors. Open windows and doors are vital because ventilation counts. HEPA filters should also be used in classrooms and indoor spaces where opening doors or windows is impractical ( student safety). Please reconsider allowing remote learning until a vaccine is available.
    Your educators are eager to return to their schools and see their students, but are concerned about safety—specifically, the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the feasibility of social distancing.
    To reopen and offer in-person instruction five days a week with large student classroom numbers, despite a resurgence of COVID could expose students to COVID-19 at school allowing them to take the virus home and infect their parents; inflicting a devastating impact on our nation’s military readiness. Thank you for understanding.

    1. Opening brick and mortar schools not only impacts our student’s safety, but our nation as a whole. If we put our military connected students in potentially hazardous environments where the transmission of of COVID-19 is known to be increased (enclosed spaces/with increased numbers of people) we are putting our military personal in those same hazardous environments by the communal transmission of the disease from students to their military parents at home.

  21. There is now way that it is safe for students and staff to return to school. This virus is deadly and unpredictable. We cannot safely teach and monitor health for everyone. If people are allowed to telework for their jobs because of COVID-19, what makes it safe for schools to open.

  22. I have had cancer and had a successful operation for pancreatic cancer 3 years ago. I have applied for “At Risk” accommodations for school. We will start out with ELearning but I think face to face learning will be implemented in the future if things improve. I am worried that I will not be protected enough. The main office of the school already has plastic protection shields at the main desk but nothing has been done for teachers at all. I was denied gloves from the nurse when we were in Elearning in the Spring because I was handling papers and homework handed in by students when they left their assignments in drop boxes in the school library. I have anxiety starting this new school year. Will I be given the protection needed? Will I be treated by the Naval Hospital adequately if I get Covid? I don’t think there are any ventilators or if there are, not many. The Japanese hospitals on Okinawa may not want to admit me. So will I go without proper care, if I get sick? I am 71 and I am scared to teach this year.

  23. I would not like my grandsons put in a position to be harmed or by extension innocently harm anyone else.

  24. Thank you for the concerned about safety—specifically, the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the feasibility of social distancing, and adequate staffing levels.

    Not only for the military families but also concern for the staff and their families. There is too much at risk. Specially for the High Risk personnel such as myself, due to the age factor, but DoDEA is not taken that into consideration.

    I am in total agreement that rather than risk an in-person opening of DoDEA schools, remote instruction should be implemented for many reasons: it would provide time to address staffing needs, procure PPE, develop realistic cleaning procedures, and educate students and their parents about their options. DoDEA has promised to expand the Virtual School Program created before the pandemic—which provides specialized content and requires students to enroll for an entire semester—but planning and staffing remain in flux. Instead, DoDEA schools should open remotely when the new school year starts.

  25. Good Morning,

    I believe we are not fully informed on COVID-19 and how to control the spread in a school environment. We are not allowed to gather in groups over 10, outside in Belgium at this time. But we are planning on gathering hundreds of children into one school along with over 50 staff; coming from a range of different towns? This just does not make sense.

    This is not sound logic when there is an alternative way to educate children and keep them safe.

    We, as teachers and staff, understand having children at home learning is difficult, tiring, stressful and inconvenient for so many families. We know this is not a straight forward solution for all schools, communities and families.

    But until we can confidently state bring children back into the building will not increase their chance of contracting COVID-19 or put staff at risk; we should hold off till modern screening, testing, sanitation and medicine have caught up to make this a fact.

    Bottom-line, we understand our military families are struggling with their duty and how to discharge them, when they are unable to send their children to school. But in reality, if their children get sick, they will not be able to execute their duties either.

    Charlotte Geehreng

  26. My home of record is Tyler Texas. Most overseas union members have one. Perhaps it should be a question on the form.

  27. I believe that remote learning is the safest and best plan for both teachers during and students during this pandemic.

  28. Dear Legislator,

    The children in Military Families deserve your special attention. They need to get a decent education and their parents have to feel that they are adequately provided with both a safe and truly excellent experience. When they return to school, virtual and physical readiness must be provided. Fighting for our country is enough for them to be concerned about!

  29. I believe it is important ot safeguard our children at our overseas schools. The reopening of schools at the current time places these children in danger.

  30. I feel remote instruction for the beginning of school year 20-21 would be the best option to keep the military community safe. There are many issues that aren’t resolved and many of us have fears and concerns.

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