It’s been weeks since shelter-in-place orders spread throughout the country. It’s been endless hours that whole families have been locked inside as they try to keep the kids both educated and entertained. We want normalcy, but we know we can’t rush back into normal life.
If there were an easy answer to the problem of needing to get kids back in school, but also needing to keep them safe from COVID-19, we’d have seen it by now. The truth is, even our leaders don’t know what we can do yet. At the moment, though, reports are circulating that Trump is in a rush to get schools open again.
43 states and Washington, DC have closed schools indefinitely. But with the economy tanking and laid-off parents needing work, it’s unfeasible to keep our children home forever. And now, Trump wants to get school going sooner than anyone expected.
“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” he told governors across the country, according to CNN.
“So a lot of people are thinking about the school openings. And I think it’s something, Mike (Pence), they can seriously consider and maybe get going on it.”
While this is not a declaration that schools will reopen anytime soon, it has experts worried.
Dr. Fauci, the US director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been America’s go-to expert on all things coronavirus. Last month, he addressed the school situation in a briefing:
“I fully expect — though I’m humble enough to know that I can’t accurately predict — that by the time we get to the fall, that we will have this under control enough that it certainly will not be the way it is now where people are shutting schools.”
Fauci has not gone back on his statement that he suspects schools will not reopen this academic year.
There is a world in which schools can reopen, but it looks different than the one we know. Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, told the Washington Post:
“Our students need some kind of normalcy. Right now, their whole world has been disrupted with things that they’ve never dealt with before, and they need to be around other people.”
His plan is to hopefully reopen school this coming fall with a different schedule and new rules for social distancing. According to the Post, “[He’s] considering a schedule in which some students attend school in person on Mondays and Wednesdays and others on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with everyone remote on Fridays. He said lunches would probably need to be in classrooms to avoid large groups, and he is reconsidering sports.”
As of yet, we don’t know what the next few weeks and months will hold. States are itching to get their economies rolling, but these days, it’s hard to know if that’s just wishful thinking.