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How Will K-12 Happen in the Fall?

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Here are two facts.

  1. In person K-12 must happen in person in the fall, both in terms of the necessity of parents to work and for child development.
  2. There is no way that K-12 can happen with proper social distancing, given both that you can’t make small children social distance and because there simply isn’t the space.

I have no idea how to square that circle. But both of these facts are true. So it has to be squared. But no one knows how to do it. This report (you actually have to download the actual report from the site, but it’s just a Word doc) notes that 2 months away, the situation is a complete mess:

When asked whether their district announced when schools will re-open and resume in-person instruction, 94% of respondents replied “No, but we are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year” compared to 5% who responded “Yes, we will re-open based on state and local health officials.”

When asked what, if anything, their district is finding hard to provide equitably during this time, respondents answered “special education and related services” (78%); “access to online learning” (52%); “access to district health/school-provided health services” (35%); “devices for all students who need them” (27%); “childcare services for emergency personnel” (25%); “pickup/delivery of free and reduced-price meals” (12%); and “other” (11%).

When asked to describe their district’s capacity (in terms of physical space) to fully comply with recommended social distancing, respondents replied “very hard to do” (77%); “we do not have enough physical space to accommodate full enrollment and to comply with social distancing” (69%); “my district includes at least one school that enrolls more than 50 people (staff and students included), putting us at odds with CDC guidance” (64%); “my district has some capacity to repurpose space (like gymnasiums, libraries, and cafeterias) to be used for classroom purposes” (33%); “my district could transition seamlessly to a social-distancing scenario” (1%), and “other” (1%).

Knowing how difficult this is to plan for higher ed, I just have no idea how this is going to work.

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