When Schools Reopen, Will Teachers Return?

When schools reopen a significant portion of the teaching workforce could be a risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that 29 percent of all teachers are at higher risk because they are  over the age of 55 and that 92 percent of all of the deaths caused by Covid-19 virus are for people over the age of 55. Those who are over the age of 55 are more vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus and are more prone to have asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, severe obesity and liver disease.

The White House would like to open schools in order to get the economy moving. But in order to do that, provision must be made to put teachers back into classrooms so that working parents can work. Also, President Trump doesn’t possess the legal authority to mandate that schools reopen. He has stated, “ I would like to see schools open, wherever possible.” He went on to say that with respect for teachers over the age of 60 or older, “ I think that they should not be teaching school for a while and everybody would understand that fully.”

There are certain potential problems that must be addressed before schools reopen.

  • Educational resources are distributed unequally across the country so some districts will not be able to address all their problems like broadband and sufficient number of computers.
  • Most states are now financially tapped and are making overtures about cutting the number of educators, their salaries or their pensions.
  • According to an AEI (American Enterprise Institute) report, four states have one quarter of  their teachers 55 years and older.
  • Over one quarter of all school principals are over 55 years of age.
  • Those numbers do not account for the educators with other health concerns or with high-risk family members.
  • Both the American Federation (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) have said that schools shouldn’t reopen until there is more widespread testing and contract tracing.
  • The New York City Education Department has reported that at least 72 New York City staffers have died including 28 teachers and 28 paraprofessionals. What if this is true in the rest of the country?
  • Most states are already facing a shortage of teachers especially in critical areas such as in Special Education, Science, Math, Technology and English as A Second Language.
  • How will children be transported to school with regard to social distancing?
  • At best, it will be difficult to social distance in school especially in the halls, in physical education classes, in mass locations like lunchrooms and auditoriums?
  • Over 50 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch how can schools continue to feed them if school lunchrooms cannot not provide enough space between students?
  • Class size limits do not provide enough space for social distancing.
  • How will last term’s work be made up? Marked?
  • Will students be promoted to the next grade? To middle or high school?

Schools should not reopen unless there is a vaccine, widely available and distributed, to contain the spread of the coronavirus, widespread testing and tracing of the illness to ensure the public’s confidence that children can safely return to schools. And that teachers and other staff will be protected.…-teachers-return/ ?