Could We Be Returning to Full-Time In-Person Learning?
There’s no doubt about it, our kids have had to learn to adjust to the changing landscape for learning this year. Some are fully remote, others attending in person and still others participating in a hybrid model. Federal and state officials are working hard to create a plan to reopen schools full-time and we’re seeing the first steps to this goal.
Yesterday, DESE issued revised guidance for transporting students on buses. It looks like masks will still be required, with exemptions for students with medical or behavioral concerns. Ventilation is still needed with a requirement to keep windows open at least 2 inches. If there’s inclement weather, every other window can now be closed. The state is suggesting that each student be assigned to a particular seat and the use of monitors are encouraged to help everyone adhere to the guidelines. The biggest change – capacity limitations and physical distancing requires for all elementary students are lifted. For middle and high schoolers, these capacity limits are also lifted, but for communities with high COVID rates, adjustments will be made.
Today the CDC confirmed that in-person learning can be accomplished with continued mask wearing, social distancing, regular handwashing, diagnostic testing, contract tracing, cleaning facilities and improving ventilation. Vaccines for teachers is important but not a pre-requisite. While the CDC isn’t mandating a return to full-time in person learning, “these recommendations simply provide schools a long-needed roadmap for how to do so safely under different levels of disease in the community," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a news briefing on Friday.
We've been searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this is it.