School's out

I’ll be off next week, but before I go, here’s a totally uncontroversial subject for a Friday comment thread.

Schools. Should they reopen? To what degree? Discuss.

My town is still deliberating, although it looks as if we’ll offer a hybrid in-person/remote learning model, with no penalty for parents who want their kids to instead be 100 percent virtual, because of the pandemic.

I wrote to our local superintendent — just what he wants, I’m sure — offering my thoughts. Quick highlights:

  1. Delay the start until October. This is probably my most controversial advice, but I think it’s important. I don’t get the rush to figure out a plan on the fly, and then implement it in a number of weeks. I’d much rather add another 30 days, learn from other districts’ experiences, and get it right. Or at least, “more right.”

  2. All else being equal, maximize the number of days in school — even if we need shorter hours to reduce density. So, not “1 to 2 days, for six hours,” but instead, “4 to 5 days, for three hours.” Especially for younger kids, like say K to 2.

  3. Maximum transparency. Even though I’m the guy saying “more days,” if I’m not satisfied by the setup, I’ll quickly start thinking about the 100% virtual option — even though I really don’t like that idea. So err on the side of too much info, and letting parents know exactly what we’re putting our kids into.

Of course, truly, I have no idea if I’m right.

On the one hand, the governor of South Dakota just this week said she’s pushing for schools to reopen without masks; meanwhile the second largest teachers union in the country says it supports members who want to strike if districts try to reopen without adequate safety measures.

What are your thoughts at the moment? Share them in the comments.

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