July is half over and still, there is no plan in place for reopening the New Bedford School District this fall. Why is that?

Weeks ago, we spoke about the need to make the re-opening of the schools a top priority and suggested there be public hearings to give parents, students, and school employees a chance to be heard on the best ways to accomplish that goal. To my knowledge, there have been no such hearings held.

Parents need a reopening plan as quickly as possible in order to manage their lives as well as the lives of their school-aged children.

Our kids have not attended school since February and March and need to get back in the classroom as quickly as possible. Remote learning is no substitute for classroom learning. Studies have shown it to be a complete disaster for students whose parents are not engaged in their children's learning process.

Experts warn that isolating children at home is bad for their physical and mental health and can mask evidence of child abuse and depression.

We are depriving our kids of the education we promised them. That is unfair and unacceptable. Our kids are losing out on the entire social experience that is part of the education process. This experience is critical for their development as young adults.

Our public schools need to reopen fully this fall. Attending school fulfills a promise made to our children that they will receive the best educational opportunities possible to help them to succeed. An entire generation has experienced an interruption of that promise. But we can make it right by reopening our schools on schedule this fall with as little disruption as possible.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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