Saturday, January 30, 2021

Choosing Democracy: Should California Schools Reopen?

Choosing Democracy: Should California Schools Reopen?
Should California Schools Reopen?

It’s been a month since Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his Safe Schools for All Plan, in which he aims to reopen schools for in-person learning by February or March.

However, with the Feb. 16 deadline to open schools looming, there’s no telling how many districts have actually signed on to adopt the plan. Education leaders and teachers have openly criticized it, and negotiations over details appear to be at a standstill. Parents, eager to get their children back to in-person learning this year, have organized a campaign to safely reopen schools once case numbers decline.

The debate echoes what’s going on across the country, as President Biden’s push to open schools in his first 100 days has been met with caution from teachers’ unions, who want to tamp down expectations that students will be back in classrooms before the end of the school year.

Here’s what we know about the state of reopening schools so far.

Mr. Newsom’s plan is in danger of failing.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that schools could be opened safely, but the message came with a caveat: It’s safe only if other precautions are made to stop community spread. That means tightening, not loosening, restrictions, as Mr. Newsom did this week.

“Prioritizing schools is going to mean limiting some of those other activities, and deciding that we want to undertake some of those sacrifices to keep schools open, because we’ve decided as a society that schools are important relative to other things,” Dr. Oster said.

The governor’s plan calls for schools to reopen once the rate of infection falls to 25 positive cases per 100,000 county residents.

Although cases in California are declining, hospitalization rates are still higher than they were when the strictest lockdown measures were announced. Currently, most of the state’s population falls under the most restrictive purple tier.

In addition, the plan’s $2 billion grant fund, which breaks down to $450 per pupil, falls short  CONTINUE READING: Choosing Democracy: Should California Schools Reopen?