9 Questions to Answer Before Schools Can Reopen in September
Here are some valid questions that I feel will have to be addressed in order for teachers and parents to consider returning to school this fall.
These are some of the challenging questions that my teacher friends and I have come up with...and I'm sure there are more!
1. How will you keep students six feet apart at all times, especially in narrow hallways, at lockers, in the cafeteria and classrooms?
2. How do you get kids (especially younger ones) to understand that they must keep a mask in place at all times over their nose and mouth, and, more importantly, to not touch their eyes, nose, mouth or ears even if they have an itch?
3. How do you keep kids socially distanced on a school bus...especially if there is no one to monitor them except the bus driver who is supposed to be watching the road?
4. How do you make exceptions/incorporate special-needs kids who may not understand the severity of what's going on or be able to wear a mask at all times?
5. What about teachers and school staff members who have health issues and have to remain home or risk exposure to the virus when they would be more likely to suffer serious consequences? There might be a necessity for many more long-term, qualified substitutes (especially in areas of special study) for these jobs.
6. What happens if it is determined that a teacher or student was, in fact, exposed to Covid-19 and is either sick from it or lives with someone who is? How will you then get parents to consent to letting their kids back into that classroom or get another teacher agree to teach in that room, even if it is sanitized, without fear of exposure?
7. Won't schools still have to come up with a plan that will keep those who don't feel it's safe for their kids to come back to school updated daily with home instruction/remote learning so that they still have access to the same education to which they are entitled from home? If so, who would do that? You can't expect a teacher who is coming to work and doing their job all day long to then go home and provide online instruction to those kids who aren't able to yet come back to school. That would be too many overtime hours.
8. Do we wait for a vaccine (which could take until September of 2021 if not longer)? Our public school system considers other vaccines mandatory in order for a student to attend, so why let kids come back this September when there is no vaccine to combat this virus? Is it feasible to continue home instruction for all students until Sept. 2021 or beyond?
9. If parents feel pressure to return to work in order to support their family, how do you prevent them from sending a kid to school who is exhibiting signs of being sick?