May 26, 2020
Greetings! I hope you and your family are well.
“As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.” The above statement, along with many “recommendations” was added to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html) on May 19, 2020, and has resulted in much discussion on social media. CDC’s guidance on the reopening of schools across the nation has to be viewed as recommendations to school districts that are considering the reopening of their schools during the summer. One must remember, there are school systems across the nation that operate all year long instead of following Pennsylvania’s traditional schedule, a schedule that was dictated long ago based upon an agrarian lifestyle and economy. The CDC is working in the present for the national picture, but at the same time, many organizations are hard at work in Pennsylvania planning for a return to school in late August or early September. The following different educational organizations are hard at work as part of a newly formed task force to draft plans for the reopening of schools in our state: Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units, Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technology Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. I expect the guidelines from this task force to be released in mid to late June and then, local districts will determine their official operating protocols, based upon these guidelines, by mid to late July. Education may look different in different parts of the state and nation when schools first reopen, but things will return to normal and our students will be back in the safe and nurturing schools where teaching and learning are meant to occur.