Yes, President Trump and Secretary of Education DeVos want schools to reopen in-person and full-time, and to many that stands as a reach too far, but then so does continuing remotely. After all, according to a recent Education Next poll, while 71% of parents said their kids learned less online, 87% of teachers said the same thing.
Of note: schools in such countries as Germany, Singapore, Norway, and Denmark had no outbreaks upon reopening.
Also, at this time, Florida, Texas, and California account for 20% of the world’s new coronavirus cases, and, says the CDC, those under 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population but represent less than 2% of cases–and their infections tend to be mild…
In the open full- or part-time corner:
- Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “… Risks can be managed as the Trump administration has suggested in its guidelines to schools.” Those include desks six feet apart, staggered class periods, masks worn by students and staff whenever feasible, and special accommodations made for older teachers and those with underlying health conditions.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics: “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures this spring.”
- USAToday editorial: “There is no one-size-fits-all solutions. Decisions should be locally based and reflect community prevalence of COVID-19. The call will be particularly tough in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas where the virus is surging. But outside the hottest hot spots, every reasonable effort should be made to get kids back in school this fall.”
- Pennsylvania Department of Education: “Dividing students into smaller groups, each of which comes to school only 20% to 40% of total school days is likely to substantially slow the rate of infections, on average, compared to having all students attend school every day.”
- Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Employers and employees in most industries are making adjustments to manage through the pandemic, and there’s no reason schools and teachers can’t too.”
And in the opposing corner:
- National Education Association’s President Lily Eskelsen Garcia: On Trump’s call for reopening: “Appallingly reckless!”
- American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: On Trump’s call for reopening: “Unconscionable!”
- American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: “There’s no way you’re going to have full-time schools for all the kids and all the teachers the way we used to have it. Once we have a vaccine, I hope we can get back to that.”
- Johanne Davis, parent: “Teachers shouldn’t have to be front-line soldiers in this pandemic.”
- Fairfax County Teachers Association President Kimberly Adams: “… [People say] health care workers did it, why can’t teachers? We didn’t sign up to be health care workers.”
Then there’s the University of Michigan’s pediatrics professor Kao-Ping-Chua who reminds us that, “No matter what schools do, they won’t make everyone happy.”
And that’s the bottom line.
With thanks, Carol