The extent of the challenges and unknowns involved in safely reopening our schools may seem daunting, but educational organizations and schools now involved in the process are developing helpful frameworks and innovative solutions that show what can be accomplished and how.
Representatives of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), accompanied by a team working on the plan for a Brooklyn, NY charter school, explained during a recent edWebinar how they are proceeding and what has already resulted. High-stakes decisions and a lot of work still remain, but the progress made so far can help other educators and stakeholders proceed while also helping everyone continue to learn from each other.
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The last point is one of the key takeaways from the edWebinar. Teachers, parents, and other members of the community not only need and deserve to be heard during the planning process, they can actually contribute crucial insights and expertise that will facilitate and accelerate the safe reopening of schools.
Combining public health with high-quality instruction
As explained by Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, Senior Director for Education Issues at the AFT, the reopening framework developed by the AFT is considered a road map rather than a blueprint, because they don’t have all the answers yet, and many of the decisions should be based on local facilities and circumstances. A top-down, one-size-fits-all template simply cannot be effective due to the diversity of America’s communities, schools, and students.