In Fall 2020, many schools will reopen and some, apparently won’t. But which ones and why? As is becoming clear, it’s not just about following CDC guidelines.
The major question for federal, state and local elected officials — as well as parents across the country and teachers everywhere — is whether or not their local K-12 school districts will reopen for in-person instruction in the fall, amid the raging pandemic, rising cases nationwide, and an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. For many parents, who have spent the past few months trying, and reasonably failing, to do two jobs at once, the possibility of school doors opening again and kids entering those doors, away from home, for 8 hours a day feels like a necessity. For many teachers and many other parents, those doors opening also brings a spike in anxiety, as many worry if their schools can actually create conditions for social distancing and COVID-19 safety in our nation’s schools, or whether or not they will be putting themselves, or their children, at risk of a deadly virus.
Still, President Trump is pressuring local governments to open their schools (and falsely claiming he can unilaterally defund those schools if they decide to do anything but 100% in-person learning) and Betsy Devos agreeing with him, the debate is raging. And with the school year in some places just six weeks away, school districts have begun to come out with their plans for reopening. But which schools aren’t reopening in the fall of 2020? Which schools will be opening their doors to hordes of students?
School Districts That Have Announced They Aren’t Reopening in Fall of 2020
So far, some major school districts have already announced that they won’t be reopening in any capacity — and sticking to online instruction only — for the fall of 2020. Those school districts include San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, California, which will start the school year on August 31 from home. Their neighbors, the Los Angeles Unified School District, will also start the school year online, citing a lack of conclusive research on COVID-19 in schools, lack of resources to reopen buildings safely, and rising cases in the state.
Nashville, Tennessee public schools had announced two plans to reopen school buildings on August 4, but will instead only offer remote learning through at least Labor day.
Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia will exclusively offer remote learning for the first nine weeks of the schoo year — and the start of the school year will be pushed back from the usual date of August 10 to August 24, giving teachers more time to plan virtual lessons and adapt to the new normal.
School Districts That Are Doing A Hybrid Reopening in the Fall of 2020
Detroit public schools in Detroit, Michigan opened up their voluntary, in-person classes to summer school students several weeks ago, and will offer parents a choice between remote or in-person instruction.
Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas has not come down one way or the other on the issue. While the Texas Education Agency released statewide guidance for reopening schools that included families having the option of face-to-face or virtual instruction, Michael Hinojosa, the district’s superintendent, has started to express doubt as to whether or not schools could reopen by August 17 given the massive spike in cases in Dallas and across Texas.
A few weeks ago, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released a plan for a hybrid model of instruction that would have students in schools several days a week and learning from home several days a week, to limit the number of bodies in school while also giving every kid some level of in-person instruction. However, after announcing that plan, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seemed to suggest that de Blasio didn’t have the authority to weigh down on how schools would reopen.
School Districts Where Parents and Teachers Are Petitioning Districts Not to Reopen
In states and cities across the country, some parents and teachers are in open revolt over plans to reopen. In Arlington, Virginia, for example, teachers have openly called for an online-only return to school in the state and a delayed start to increase teacher training for the return to remote instruction. The group calls for a fully and exclusively distance-learning model, four days a week until the state sees two weeks with absolutely no COVID-19 cases.
This story is developing.
Check-out Fatherly’s data on this subject: The Back to School Decision Tree.