Getting our kids back learning in the classroom should be a top priority for everyone in Wisconsin. After nearly a year, many students across the state are still only given the option to learn from home. The toll this is taking on our children and families is staggering.

As if the past year hasn’t been hard enough for parents, many have struggled to balance work and home life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids are home all week, or multiple days a week, forcing parents to seek childcare or stay home from their jobs. This has had a detrimental impact on our kids who are less likely to succeed outside of the classroom, and parents who are being forced to choose between work and taking care of their kids. To make matters worse, many parents don’t have the ability to work from home.We know our kids are at their best when they are in the classroom. That is where they have the greatest chance to learn and succeed. It is widely agreed upon that in-person learning is more effective, and that kids face setbacks and isolation when forced to stay home from school. Unfortunately, rates of mental health issues, suicide, and substance abuse are increasing among our youth as their lives have been abruptly altered. Many children now lack the social connection they so desperately need to develop at this time in their lives. Although our teachers and school districts are trying their hardest to make it all work, virtual learning is just not the same.

There is hope moving forward. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control released recommendations for getting kids back into the classroom. With proper social distancing and other strategies, we can get our kids back to school safely. Here in Wisconsin, legislative Republicans approved funding to incentivize

Wisconsin school districts to get kids back to in-person learning and reward schools who have already spent time and resources to make it happen. Taking the necessary precautions to educate our kids safely comes with a cost, and school districts who are trying their best to do so should be rewarded. Several schools right here in the 39th Assembly District have already taken the necessary steps to make sure kids can learn safely in the classroom. I applaud them for their hard work and dedication in making sure students have the opportunity to learn in-person. The teamwork and “all-hands-on-deck” approach is one of the many reasons why we’re all so proud to call our community, home. We can all agree that we want what’s best for the children of Wisconsin. It is readily apparent that what is best for our kids is to have them learning in-person, in the classroom. That should happen sooner than later. If we want to put our kids first, we need to get them back to school as quickly and safely as possible.

State Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, represents the 39th Assembly District which covers parts of Dodge and Washington counties including the communities of Beaver Dam, Hartford, Juneau, Mayville and surrounding areas.

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