There’s an important school board meeting tonight at 7:30 PM – on the agenda, a discussion on updated Chester County Health Department guidance for the reopening of schools. Priority discussion topics include the District’s “School Instructional Model Plan” – How (and when) will the District fully open schools? (For agenda and instructions on submitting questions and viewing the meeting, click here.)
Many parents are pushing for a return to full in-person learning and data certainly supports the need. There is no argument on the many benefits of resuming full in-person learning — educational, developmental, emotional, and mental health needs, especially for the younger students. It is my understanding that most who support full in-person learning support the virtual model continuing for those not wishing to return to school. If the District were to move to a full in-person model, presumably the current hybrid option would no longer exist.
According to a national survey by state in Education Week, updated Feb. 19, Gov. Tom Wolf has lifted a ban on all in-person school extracurricular activities and K-12 school sports. The guidance from the state level allows individual school districts to decide whether they will use in-person or remote instruction, or a mix of both.
Although the debate on whether to fully reopen schools should be science based, the issue has sadly taken on a decidedly political spin … pitting parents against parents, parents against teachers, etc. Everyone wants what is best for the kids, but the kids only have their parents to ensure their needs are met.
Without question, kids (and teachers) deserve safety and parents deserve to have schools that are open, and safe. Neighboring school districts have successfully increased in-person learning, can that safely happen now in T/E?
There are many questions about fully reopening District schools, here’s a few of mine:
- Will all teachers be vaccinated before the schools open for full in-person learning? If so, that process is completely depended on availability of vaccines.
- Will the community transmission rates impact reopening of schools? Studies have suggested that schools do not drive community transmission.
- Is 3-foot socially distanced model acceptable to reopen schools or must 6 feet of physical distance between students, staff, and faculty in school buildings be maintained?
- Do the District schools have adequate ventilation?
- Who exactly makes the decision to fully reopen the schools – the administration or the school board?
- Where does the District teachers union TEEA stand on the fully reopening of schools?