Listen to this article

New Unit 4 plan inequitable

The Champaign school district’s proposed reopening plan for sixth through 12th grade differs from the K-5 model in that students who continue to be remote learners will no longer have remote teachers.

Come January, these students will passively watch other kids go to school. They will watch their masked teachers deliver lessons via a webcam in the classroom. They will watch their in-person masked peers ask questions, while not being able to ask their own.

They will watch their teachers interact with students in the classroom without being afforded a similar opportunity.

We know that virtual engagement is difficult. Based on this knowledge, why does the current plan propose that we remove remote teachers — the best resource we have to combat this fatigue — while still offering remote learning?

This feels like more than just a disservice to students learning from home. Aside from having direct access to teachers during a 30-minute, once-a-week virtual learning day, these students will have no agency regarding their learning. Students deserve — and, quite frankly, have a right — to be actively taught by teachers solely committed to distance learners.

In the current scenario, in-person learners would attend classes two days a week for 2½ hours per day. The rest of the time, they, too, would be watching their masked teachers deliver instruction to a group of in-person students, rather than having teachers dedicated to them as virtual learners.

The district needs to share the details of their plan before moving ahead with this flawed and inequitable model.