By JOSH RESNEK
As the pandemic appears to be raging out of control in other parts of the nation imperiling the economy and the approaching school year, the situation here is apparently at a place where Everett’s school superintendent and local officials are planning for a reopening sometime in late August or early September.
All plans are tentative at the moment all roads lead to a reopening of some kind.
“The schools will reopen. You can depend on that.”
How many days in the week students will attend in classroom instructions remains a question, and how many older students will be allowed to matriculate through internet instructions is now being decided,” said a source with an understanding of where the Everett school district and its leadership are apparently leaning.
With infections soaring in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, the reopening of schools en masse throughout those states has been called into serious question as officials struggle to meet the social and educational needs of young students with the need for a safe and healthy environment.
In Los Angeles, the largest school district in the nation, the superintendent there has decided schools cannot reopen with the virus out of control.
The thinking is the same in Houston, Texas and in Miami’s Dade County.
President Trump’s promise to withhold funding from school systems who fail to reopen for the new school year appears to have dissolved into nothingness following a huge outcry from superintendents of schools throughout the nation.
Superintendents almost to a person interviewed by NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN, and those interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post and a variety of Internet news outlets like Huffington Post created a wave of disso- nance that even the president was forced to pay attention to.
The bottom line with superintendents as it is with Everett’s superintendent, nothing, absolutely nothing will allow schools to reopen if the children can’t be fully protected.
Not only do the children need to be protected, but teachers must be protected from the children.
Bus drivers must be protected from the children.
Cafeteria workers must be shielded from contracting the virus from the children and on and on all the way down the food chain in the public school systems across the nation.
If schools reopen without adequate safety precautions or during a time of epidemic spread, the public schools will be forced to close, again, experts all agree.
Here in Massachusetts, the virus has been temporarily brought under control.
The spread of the virus has dropped.
Hospitalizations have dropped. Deaths have dropped.
However, the spread of the virus throughout the highly populated states of the sunbelt is producing ominous possibilities.
What is spreading in the rest of the nation will ultimately reappear in Massachusetts, making public school untenable and eroding public confidence as well as disrupting the economy and the health care system.
Social distancing, wearing facemasks – students and teachers alike- feeding the students in their classrooms, cleaning the areas after each class session or eating period and added public hygiene efforts inside Everett’s public schools are paramount issues for the superintendent.
Repurposing classrooms, auditoriums, open spaces of all kinds, changing schedules, attempting separation of students during the class day throughout the school system will take a superhuman effort that will be labor intensive and costly.
Following precisely federal and state mandates and guidelines is also a requirement of a successful and safe reopening.
“Instead of threatening school systems that don’t open by withholding funding, the president should have announced he will be providing money to make the needed transition possible in all the public schools,” said the source.
“He got it wrong on two counts not just one,” he added.
Officials here are continuing to plan out a variation of several themes to get schools open again.
“This is what July is all about,” said the source.