BY JOSH RESNEK
Nearly everyone with an understanding of what it takes to work to run the Everett Public Schools has come to understand that Superintendent Priya Tahiliani’s overriding interest in her life right now is the successful reopening of the EPS.
“She works tirelessly day and night. She is at it from early morning until late in the evening. She is bright. She has a strong work ethic. She is under pressure and appearing to work well with it and because of it,” said a member of the administration who wished to remain unnamed.
“She knows where she’s heading. She is confident. She is not overconfident. It is quite remarkable to watch her in action,” said the source.
The present period, this week, was described the source as an in between period.
“You’ll know more about exactly where the EPS is headed during the first week of August,” he added.
“That’s when the city’s plan must be submitted to the State Department of Education,” he said.
Until then, we watch, and we wonder what form the coming year of public-school education is going to take in this city.
The essential question, the overriding interest, is how to do the best for the city’s 7,000 students in grades K-12.
The academic year 2020-2021 is setting itself up as the most difficult to put together in the city’s history because of the virus and the subsequent shortage of money.
It is also about parents, many, many parents, being very hesitant about wanting their children to go back to school while the virus is running rampant around the nation and with more than 1,000 people dying everyday from coast to coast.
Also, Everett is at the epicenter of the virus, with thousands believed infected here.
As it stands now, schools are expected to reopen in some way, shape or many forms on September 8, the day after Labor Day.
The particulars are still being worked out.
There is little doubt that Everett is looking at what other communities like Boston are planning on doing.
Boston is apparently planning for two or three days a week or Internet learning and two or three days a week of in classroom learning to accommodate Boston’s greater number of students and diverse needs.
School department officials admitted last week that the former Pope John High School facility is being considered as a school to take care of added space requirements caused by social distancing efforts to keep the virus from spreading among students throughout the district.
The new stimulus package being debated in Washington will provide $70 billion for K-12 education and another $5 billion will be allotted to governors for further spend- ing in order for public schools to conform the new normal.
“Science doesn’t matter. Money doesn’t matter, if parents are worried their children will bring the virus home and give it to them, and then they give it to their parents and on and on,” said the source.
“The divide is wide,” he said. This must and will be factored into our planning.”
Everyone has questions.
Teachers near retirement wonder about going back.
Households with multi-generational situations are genuinely concerned.
Concern is high all around with the ultimate bottom line – where exactly is the spread of the virus here and what to do about it.