Coronavirus is still in session, and school will soon be too.
The Trump administration is urging schools to reopen despite the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases nationwide.
On May 19, the CDC released considerations for schools reopening in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. It included guiding principles to keep in mind. The main was to hold class virtually full time to be at the lowest risk possible of contracting the virus.
Though the summer heat is upon us, so are the considerations for reopening school in the fall across the country.
It is obviously a difficult decision to be made. But with a spike in cases in different parts of the country, teachers and parents' concerns should play a major part in the decision-making process.
On July 17, the Trump administration blocked the CDC Director Robert Redfield’s testimony at the House Committee on Education and Labor hearing about safely reopening schools in the fall.
In previous weeks, Trump has tweeted threats to withhold federal funding from schools that will not resume in-person classes this fall. He added that the CDC’s guidelines and precautions for carefully reopening schools was not only impractical, but expensive as well.
In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020
But teachers have questions and concerns.
Laura Saveedra, a teacher in New Jersey, expressed her worry about receiving workers comp regardless of the duration of her time away, since the district knew she was in danger, or if her days out would be considered sick days.
Martha Adzhiashvili, a teacher in New York City, worries about being around 4,000 students in her school, where most take the subway and come from all five boroughs.
NYC officials are working on opening schools with a rotating schedule, similar to what Philadelphia is doing, but she does not see how it would be possible to do so when each classroom has more than 30 students in a room on a regular basis.
Another teacher in Florida responded to an inquiry sharing their questions about reopening schools in a state that has now the new epicenter of the pandemic.
Will the school pay his extended leave if he contracts the virus? Is the school district going to pay the hospital bill for those teachers who are high risk — those over the age of 60 and with a possible immuno disposition?
A second grade teacher in New Jersey, Krista Gargiulo, said not only does she not want to transmit it to her parents who are in their 70s, but also that the flu is spread wildly in the winter months, so why would this easily spread virus be any different?
There are teachers in school districts who have underlying health issues who would not be able to wear a mask, but also not wearing one puts her at an even higher risk of contracting coronavirus.
Additionally, children in a classroom do not stay put all day. She added that this will be especially difficult for children with disabilities.
Her curriculum will also have to change since most of the assignments are group work.
Finally, a Catholic school teacher in New Jersey, Tristina Diblasio, shared that since the news of schools reopening in the fall, she is constantly receiving life insurance calls with the sell being that she’s a teacher returning to work during the pandemic.
It is understood that we are treading through unknown waters and there is an urge to feel normalcy again. But the risk and repercussion is much greater than the reward here, when it comes to the nation’s children and their teachers.