Friday, December 18, 2020

Mike Klonsky's Blog: The path towards safe school reopenings

Mike Klonsky's Blog: The path towards safe school reopenings
The path towards safe school reopenings

I don't see any pathway to safe urban school reopenings without first classifying teachers and school staff as essential, frontline workers, and putting them near the top of the vaccine priority list. This should be part of a national campaign championed by the incoming Sec. of Education. Schools should also become centers for mass community inoculation. 
Chicago has plans for a phased school reopening starting in January if the spread of the virus stabilizes, but the local teachers’ union says cases remain too high. Credit...Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

Two things are clear to me. Schools can't open without support from a critical mass of teachers and teachers aren't going to be bullied back into the classroom without evidence that those classrooms are reasonably safe. 

The nation’s roughly three million full-time teachers are already considered essential workers by the C.D.C., which means that in states that follow federal recommendations, they are already eligible to receive the vaccine after hospital employees and nursing home residents.

But, says the New York Times...

The essential worker group is huge — some 87 million Americans — and states will have flexibility in how they prioritize within that population. Many more people work in schools than just teachers, including nurses, janitors, and cafeteria workers, and it is unclear how many of them would be included on the high-priority list.

Last month, more than 10 educational organizations, including the nation’s two largest CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: The path towards safe school reopenings