Money a challenge for starting schools

Everett High School. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Many people still divided on reopening in fall


With a good deal of time remaining in July for discussion about what school reopening will look like here, everyone involved, from teachers to administrators, to parents, to students reveal a convolution of meaningful concerns – all of which seem to make sense when presented, according to an Everett school official.

“Many are divided about reopening or not reopening. Some are very keen to come back. Others are not so keen. Teachers remain reserved,” said the official.

Planning continues inside the superintendent’s office.

The state has required three possible scenarios in order for reopening to take place.

Remote learning is on the table; in person learning inside buildings is being planned out; a combination of the two must be planned for as well.

These plans must be submitted by the first week in August.

“The final outcome will rely on the prevalence of the virus in Massachusetts as the time comes for reopening. If the figures remain as they are, the reopening should take place. If we are hit by a spike in the figures like the Sun states are being hit with right now, reopening will be in serious question,” added the official.

Questions abound about how the Everett Public Schools will meet the challenges.

Money is a challenge.

All the changes that must be introduced to accomplish a healthy environment for reopening costs money.

Superintendent Priya Tahiliani presently has no idea what kind of funding the EPS can expect to receive from the state, as the state has no idea what amount of funding it is going to receive from the federal government.

Presently, 119 school de- partment employees have been laid off.

If funding that is insufficient to meet the mandate of a balanced budget is not forthcoming, many others will be laid off to off-set the imbalance.

Presently, the EPS has decided on the six-foot spacing between students as the model for classroom instruction when it takes place.

In the lower grades – K-8 it is easier to plan this out as there is some space in the individual schools.

At the high school level, where there are more than 2,000 students, the task of redefining in classroom learning to fit the government requirements becomes more problematic.

Officials claimed there is presently no real idea about school sports.

The high school band director, for instance, has released a many page booklet revealing requirements that are necessary for band practices to go on.

However large gatherings of all kinds are not presently permitted and likely won’t be allowed by the time school is supposed to start.

The new normal caused by the COVID-19 virus has changed everything, and this includes how school will look when and if it gets going in September.

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