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.