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Online learning is deficient

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been encouraging each other to follow the advice and recommendations of scientists.

When complaints arose about social restrictions, we emphasized that most experts agreed that they were necessary to flatten the curve. When people refused to wear masks, we showed them videos of droplets traveling up to 12 feet. The science appeared clear: Distancing and masks help limit the spread of the virus.

Follow the science.

When it comes to in-person education, the science appears to be overwhelming. Scientific studies continue to suggest that, unlike adults, children are less likely to contract and transmit COVID-19. While these studies are still being confirmed, they are very encouraging.

Science also overwhelmingly establishes that remote learning is detrimental to the academic and social advancement of our children. So much so that requiring remote learning should be a last resort, only used when it is absolutely necessary.

The original plan advanced by the Champaign school district was well-thought-out. It supported high-risk individuals by allowing any student to attend a Virtual Academy. At the same time, it allowed low-risk students to attend in-person instruction, albeit with significant — and necessary — safety precautions.

The plan appeared to balance the entire universe of risks, including the scientific fact that remote learning is simply insufficient for many students.

As the school board and Unit 4 administrators finalize their plan for the upcoming school year, one can only hope they listen to this sage advice: Follow the science.