Chicago Public Schools proved to America teachers aren’t afraid to put the safety of their students and their lives first before education politics. I believe teachers across America are collectively saying enough is enough.
It’s mind boggling to think that public schools have a plan for earthquakes and tornados in parts of the country that these natural disasters don’t typically hit and yet still don’t have a solid plan of action for increasing numbers of Covid-19.
What happened to social distancing?
Keeping kids in school shouldn’t be this hard. However, public school systems are finding this to be extremely difficult due to the number of educators impacted by Covid-19 and not having the capacity to work with students.
Parents with children who are old enough to get the vaccine and ensure they keep their mask on ask the major question, “what happened to social distancing?”
Social distancing due to Covid-19 is giving parents and teachers the open door needed to reform what education looks like.
Reforming public education will be a gradual process, but it can be done. If we are going to ensure that all children, teachers, and staff members are going to be safe with social distancing in public schools, educators will have to do the following:
1. Reduce the number of students per class by more than ½, no more than 10-12 students in a class.
2. Consider moving grades 7-12 to virtual learning 3 days out of the week until social norms are gradually put back into place.
3. Students in 7-12 who are not able to be left at home must report to school but cannot be in classes larger than 12 students.
4. Improve environmental services using the Cares Act Funds.
5. More custodians during the school day.
6. Each school will have to have a registered nurse/clinician.
7. Increase school bus transportation.
8. Extend breakfast and lunch schedules to accommodate the number of children that can eat at a time.
9. Employ more paraprofessionals in elementary schools to assist with restroom breaks, recess, classroom activities, small group learning sessions, and regular school programming.
I believe these are steps that should be considered to help ensure that all children, teachers, and staff are protected when school resumes in the fall. Social distancing, like virtual learning, is not as simple and easy as some non educators may think.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.