Tuesday, November 17, 2020

How Will Biden Approach School Reopenings? - The New York Times

How Will Biden Approach School Reopenings? - The New York Times
How Will Biden Approach School Reopenings?
Answer: Schools over restaurants, for now.

This is the Coronavirus Schools Briefing, a guide to the seismic changes in U.S. education that are taking place during the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Several months into the 2020-2021 school year, things are bad and getting worse. Most American children are not in classrooms, with many suffering ill effects. The country seems doomed to face increasing coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. There seems to be little chance of improved conditions for the rest of the year.

So what will President-elect Joe Biden do about it when he takes office on Jan. 20?

The incoming president’s coronavirus task force has said it would prioritize open schools over open businesses like restaurants, bars and gyms.

“I would consider school an essential service,” Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of the task force, told our colleague Apoorva Mandavilli. “Those other things are not essential services.”

Biden has promised money — lots of money — to help schools function safely. He has backed plans to send at least $88 billion to local and state governments, which would pay for protective equipment, ventilation, smaller classes and other expenses.

“Schools, they need a lot of money to open,” he said during the last presidential debate.

Biden has also said his administration would create national guidelines for school reopenings. It would also provide advice about remote learning and distance learning, and conduct research into how the coronavirus affects children. Systemically, it would work to close gaps “in learning, mental health, social and emotional well-being, and systemic racial and socioeconomic disparities in education that the pandemic has exacerbated.”

President Trump, by contrast, pushed to keep schools open and threatened to restrict federal funding from noncompliant districts, but did not offer significant funds or guidelines to help meet that goal. Trump’s Education Department, reported our colleague Erica Green, “has all but absolved itself of tracking the virus’s impact and offering solutions.” CONTINUE READING: How Will Biden Approach School Reopenings? - The New York Times