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School Reopening: Educators On Their Hopes, Concerns For The School Year

First grade teacher Yolanda Vasquez stands in protest along with other teachers and counselors in front of the Hillsborough County Schools District Office on July 16, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.  (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
First grade teacher Yolanda Vasquez stands in protest along with other teachers and counselors in front of the Hillsborough County Schools District Office on July 16, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Online, in-person, hybrid — we can’t go back to school without teachers. We talk with educators about the tradeoffs they’re making this school year.  


Meira Levinson, political philosopher focused on civic education, youth empowerment, racial justice and educational ethics. Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Co-author of “Democratic Discord in Schools.” (@meiralevinson)

Chris Guerrieri, life skills teacher at Palm Avenue Exceptional Student Center in Jacksonville, Florida. (@ChrisinJax1)

Katy Eagle, second grade teacher at Deer Park Elementary in Deer Park, Washington.

Siriana Abboud, former pre-K teacher in the Bronx. She is not returning to school in the fall. Instead, she founded a month-long virtual pre-school program.

Quentin Washington, music teacher at Sadlowski Elementary School in Chicago.

From The Reading List

New England Journal of Medicine: “Reopening Primary Schools during the Pandemic” — “For the past 6 months, policymakers and the U.S. public have weighed economic against public health considerations in debating what limits to set on individual and collective behaviors in attempting to control the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CNN: “K-12 schools and colleges can reopen, but safety should come first, Fauci says” — “Schools and college campuses across the country should be OK to reopen, but officials need to proceed with caution and make safety a priority, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.”

Associated Press: “Parents struggle as schools reopen amid coronavirus surge” — “Putting your child on the bus for the first day of school is always a leap of faith for a parent. Now, on top of the usual worries about youngsters adjusting to new teachers and classmates, there’s COVID-19.”

USA Today: “An Indiana school reopened for students. There was a positive COVID-19 test on day one.” — “A junior high school in Greenfield, Indiana, received news on the first day of class that a student tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email sent to families Thursday evening.”

PBS NewsHour: “The safety concerns for teachers before schools reopen” — “The largest teacher’s union in the U.S., the American Federation of Teachers, announced recently it would support any local chapters that strike due to their school’s reopening without any safety measures.”

New York Times: “Teachers Are Wary of Returning to Class, and Online Instruction Too” — “As the nation heads toward a chaotic back-to-school season, with officials struggling over when to reopen classrooms and how to engage children online, teachers’ unions are playing a powerful role in determining the shape of public education as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.”

South Dakota Public Broadcasting: “Teachers Invest in Creative Solutions While District Details Remain Unknown” — “Some teachers are adjusting their classrooms to comply with CDC recommendations. When that’s not possible, they get creative—even while state and district guidance is sparse.”

Chalkbeat: “Influential national teachers union backs strikes as tool in school reopening fight” — “The nation’s second-largest teachers union says it will support strikes over teacher safety as heated discussions continue about whether and how to reopen schools for in-person instruction this fall.”

NBC News: “Anne Lutz Fernandez COVID-19 school guidance from Trump and the CDC paints teachers as villains” — “Days after claiming teachers are indoctrinating children to hate America, President Donald Trump pivoted to tell us we must immediately return to classrooms for the good of those children.” “Teachers want to go back to school — if it’s safe. But they worry it won’t be.” — “As school districts prepare to release their reopening plans to parents, some New Jersey teachers are reeling at the thought of reentering classrooms and expressing serious concern for their wellbeing and that of their families and students.”

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