Ensuring that all schools have the capacity to provide high-quality remote instruction need not be financially prohibitive. Even financially strapped school systems have options. Schools can secure needed curriculum and instructional materials through subscriptions and by using online materials. By leasing the technology, a district can create and maintain a comprehensive, technologically supported instructional system at a fraction of what it would cost to buy laptops and tablets outright. A byproduct of such arrangements is that vendors will often donate used laptops and tablets to the district when the time comes to replace them with newer models, usually about every thee years. With proper maintenance, schools can expand their technology assets at little to no additional cost.
Other benefits to remote learning include reducing the cost of transportation and minimizing wear and tear on facilities. By helping maintain and improve student enrollment and average daily attendance, remote learning will help preserve and even increase state and federal education funding, which is often determined by these measures.
Although it’s possible now to teach students remotely, and it may even be desirable in moments like this one, it’s far from optimal. There’s still no substitute for in-person, high-quality teachers. I also don’t mean to minimize the socialization that schools provide. Learning alongside other students is critical to ensuring that young people eventually mature into healthy, engaged and socially adept adults.