Analysis of Reopening Education

Published: June 16, 2020

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An analysis into how states are approaching the reopening of school districts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reopening education brings a new level of complexity to the COVID-19 pandemic for school districts and higher education institutions. Education reaches faculty, administrators, and students but in times of a pandemic, the spread can be significant. The question is how are states responding to such a decision? Here are how some states are addressing the issue:

California calls going back dangerous but also cites the danger of limiting education.

Colorado is plagued with uncertainty when it comes to making a decision.

Maine has not solidified a plan but says normalcy is highly unlikely.

Virginia is hastily looking to reopen schools but is leaving discretion to the independent district.

Pennsylvania has a plan in place that puts healthy and safety at the front calling all districts to make their own plans.

New York City has hopes to reopen in the fall but schools must also have a remote learning option.

Connecticut is striving to be “science-driven” to promote safety in their schools in order to reopen.

Vermont is making plans to reopen in the fall but guidance has yet to be issued by the Agency of Education in conjunction with the Health Department.

Florida stated its public universities plan to reopen campuses in August, and the Department of Education is working to outline how its 4,000 public schools will reopen for K-12 students in this fall.

Massachusetts is drafting guidance for reopening schools including measures for virtual learning, business services, and behavioral health.

Montana has issued a plan for reopening schools with a three-phased approach factoring in capacity measures to adhere to social distancing.

Washington is collaborating with the Department of Health, the Office of the Governor, and the Department of Labor and Industries for a combined guidance to reopening schools.

Arizona remains in the planning phases but is working on safety measures and is set to reopen for fall instruction pending any changes from health officials.

It is easy to use words like uncertainty and pending in times of a pandemic, but in an environment built on structure, education needs concrete decisions. Many students, parents, and communities rely on education institutions to provide services and not just instruction, but summer programs, literacy development, assessments, peer-to-peer support and much more. The common factor linking all of these factors is the element of collaboration, which is something that cannot be virtualized. Education is in a tough spot and the diverse plans and decision-making processes show that every state needs its own response and that is what it is shaping up to be: 50 different takes on education.

Continue to check back for more information and analysis on reopening education.