Re: “Keeping kindergartners apart, distanced desks and lots of cleaning: What we know so far about Washington’s next school year” [June 24, Education Lab]:

The article outlining potential guidelines for returning to school in the fall highlights by omission the glaring oversight of these discussions: What instruction will look like once we are back in the classroom.

Putting aside the depressing futility of replacing kindergarten cubbies with socially distant desks, the idea of staying six feet away from every student while lecturing at the blackboard brings to mind archaic images of the schoolrooms of yore that pedagogy has been trying to eliminate for years.

Real teaching occurs up close with students, individually and in small groups, where we can see students’ thinking firsthand and in the moment. My classroom is designed around these moments, and giving kids hands-on experiences.

While I want as much as anyone to return to the pre-pandemic classroom, getting kids safely back in the building is only the beginning of a complex conversation about instruction, curriculum, and pedagogy that I have not heard from anyone other than fellow teachers wondering when it will be addressed.

Do we want our kids to return to real learning? Or just to get them out of the house?

Scott Herman, Seattle