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Consider These 5 Things When Discussing a Safe Return to School

2020 has been a wild ride, and the fast approach of fall brings up the topic of school. When the country first shut down because of the global pandemic, schools weren’t prepared for the abrupt change in their plan. Some schools went virtual, but this relied on children having access to computers and WiFi. And what about students who needed in-person education? Months have passed, but the nation hasn’t reached a consensus on how to reopen schools safely. Derrell Bradford is the executive vice president of 50CAN, an education advocacy organization. He weighs in on the 2020 back-to-school conversation, bringing up some relevant points.

5 topics up for discussion

  1. Constant testing. Some people say that schools should regularly test students. Can the testing system withstand the pressure of a country full of K-12 schools in session? It’s rare that people get access to consistent testing unless they’re a VIP. 
  2. Proper gear. Teacher unions across the country want Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Of course, this adds to the cost of reopening schools. 
  3. Deep cleaning. Schools require deep cleaning, which is expensive and time-consuming.
  4. Test Results. What if someone tests positive? How much do you shut down the school? And for how long? 
  5. Polarization. The back-to-school discussion has become very politicized, inciting discussions across the country. But there hasn’t been a compromise or resolution. 

Return to school may not be one-size-fits-all

Bradford says it’s a fantasy to think U.S. students will be able to get into a rhythm this year. There are many unanswered questions. And then various states and schools are answering questions in different ways. What is his solution? Some students will need in-person education, such as special needs or English as a Second Language students. But others will be fine with online classes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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