The questions of if, when and how to reopen schools are spreading like wildfire. With many schools in the US traditionally opening in August, and a number of states spiking dramatically in cases, there's a growth in both urgency and uncertainty. At the same time, unfortunately, reopening schools is becoming increasingly politicized, and as if budgets weren't already dire, there are threats to cut education funding to states that don't reopen fully.
Information about plans for NYC schools has started to come out - a 'hybrid' model that's supposed to provide each student with 2-3 days of live school complemented by online instruction. Elected leaders commonly say, both in NYC and across the country, that parents should have the option of not sending their kids to physical school if they don't think it's safe enough, a condition that will place additional challenges on what will probably be the hardest staffing and scheduling process we've ever seen - one which will also have to be done with little time and money to prepare.
The Governor has formally stated that districts should receive guidance July 13th. We'll be expected to submit some 'plans' based on that guidance by the end of July. He added that he would decide the first week of August whether and to what extent schools would reopen.
That's the 'official' stuff... This week, a few specific concerns and conversations have been percolating across the state...
- Educators with kids at home are grappling with the reality that we, like many other parents, may find ourselves working full time with children who are only in school 2 or 3 days a week.
- As the likelihood of running schools at or under 50% occupancy steers conversations toward hybrid models, we all ask ourselves what's happening when students are not physically in school, which leads to concerns about ideas like live streaming.
- In the meantime, people have taken to Twitter to start sharing their own ideas for reopening, like this one.