Schools play a significant and crucial role in the lives of children. However, with the coronavirus still surging in some communities, and no guidance from the federal government on how to proceed with school, in-person classes may be impossible in the fall of 2020. To urge schools to find solutions that will allow in-person instruction this fall, the Trump administration has threatened to defund schools that do not attempt to return to in-person instruction..
Reopening schools is a goal which will require work, preparation, flexibility, and action to be achieved, if it can be achieved at all. The goal is to open schools in a safe manner so that the spread of COVID-19 is limited and the detrimental effects of the virus do not cause harm to school children or their families.
Edith Brancho Sanchez, a pediatrician, explained what she believes is the best way to reopen schools. To start, communities must form a plan to contain the virus in their area. This plan must be adopted by everyone in the community or it will not work. The containment strategies must be widely and consistently adopted to make a real impact.
She also points out that parents, students, and teachers need to be flexible as these plans move forward. Some schools may choose to open, only to close later on because of the virus. Some schools may choose to do a hybrid style of learning where students receive in person instruction on some days of the week, and other days the material will be taught online. There are many options to choose from when deciding how best to return students to their education. Administrators are working to find the safest option that still provides students with quality education.
Funding must also be considered prior to reopening. To make schools safe in person or to provide quality instruction online, additional funding might be needed. There is no question that children need to go to school, but finding a safe solution for everyone during this pandemic is difficult and ever evolving. There are several factors to consider when forming an education plan, and each community will have a different approach to these problems.