Months after the coronavirus crisis first hit the US, schools have begun to come back to life.
Every state in the country has made schools and educators the priority when it comes to providing the coronavirus vaccine. The federal government has decided to offer $140 billion to help K-12 schools meet the costs of reopening, testing and tracing students and staff.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its recommendation for social distancing in schools from 6 ft to 3 ft. As per the latest data, only 20% of students are learning virtually.
“We’re at a critically important time in our nation’s history in education,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said this week. “My goal, my priority right now is to safely reopen as many schools as possible as quickly as possible.”
As the situation becomes suitable for reopening schools for in-person learning, the federal government plans to hold a national school reopening summit on March 24, where school leaders, educators and policymakers will come together. The agenda of the meeting will be to discuss what’s working, how to implement the CDC’s reopening guidelines and how to cope with the mental health crisis and the academic and emotional learning loss faced by students.
“This spring we’re wanting to see schools reopen using the mitigation strategies and getting students an opportunity for in-person learning,” Cardona said. “In the fall, I would anticipate if the continuation of vaccinations happen – and we have every reason to believe we will be able to do that by the fall – then schools can reopen in-person for all students.”
The biggest city school districts in the country had to face the most challenging circumstances and had the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission. Even these schools are beginning to reopen.
Schools in Philadelphia have started reopening for in-person learning earlier this month for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Los Angeles schools began reopening for their youngest students in mid-April. High school students in NYC will return to school next week and those of Chicago will return in Mid April.