Recent & Upcoming posts:

  1. Move Over Summer Slide, the COVID-Slide Has Gone Viral
  2. To Keep a Lid on COVID, Keep Schools Closed in September?
  3. Pediatricians Tell Schools: “Open Wide!”
  4. School Reopening Talk Has Teachers Asking Safety Questions
  5. Reconfiguring Schools To Safely Reopen: Six Options
  6. The Practices To Be in Place When Schools Reopen

Like it or not, new normal gets lots of lip service nowadays and no more than when talk turns to reopening schools in September—or not.

Back in April, a Collaborative for Student Success found that:

  • 65% of surveyed teachers want the 2020-21 school year to be a regular school year, though acknowledging the need for greater differentiation given the learning losses of the recent three-months of remote instruction.
  • Just 15% favored extending the current school year.
  • 59% agreed that students should be tested early on to determine learning gaps.
  • 54% supported starting off with instruction in concepts from this past spring.

But doesn’t mean educators are all in with reopening this fall. In fact, American Federation of Teachers’ president Randi Weingarten told Politico that, if schools reopened under unsafe conditions, “You scream bloody murder!” and “Use your megaphones!”

Moreover, many experts say that ensuring safety is a pipe dream for such reasons as…

  • It’s not just adults who are at risk of contracting COVID-19; it has already stricken and even killed several young people.
  • Keeping desks, tables, and chairs properly cleaned throughout the day poses a problem.
  • Schools lack enough hand washing stations.
  • Schools are notoriously poorly ventilated, even mold laden. Add a couple of sick kids combined with a brew of cleaning and sanitizing agents, and you’ve got a petri dish.
  • Many classrooms are closed, windowless spaces.
  • Opening costs could hit upwards of $245 billion, and that in the face of funding shortfalls.
  • Enforcing social distancing, masks on, and hands off faces and each other is a reach too far.
  • All the scenarios for opening have teachers preparing both in-person and online lessons—no easy task.
  • Nurses and counselors are in short supply.

To this starter list, school buses must take center stage. 90% of districts reported driver shortages before the shutdown. Now add in the fact that typically drivers are at-risk older retirees, many of whom will choose not to return. Plus, to limit passenger numbers and maintain social distancing, more buses would be needed–and drivers, too.

All still in favor of taking the lid off schools this fall, say “Aye;” all opposed say, “Nay.”

With thanks, Carol