What Conditions Do Schools Need to Return?

Kevin Lagarde

When will school return? The number one question still remains among all students, teachers, and staff. This question has yet to be answered because nobody really knows. Only time will tell if the only conclusion can be confidently drawn, but what factors are involved that determine the reopening of school?

Researchers can first take a look at the stats of how the numbers of COVID-19 there are. They have to determine if the numbers are going up and down in cases.

The CDC reported in their weekly statement that the percentage of respiratory specimens on a nationwide observation tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 showed a decrease from 5.0% to 4.8% during weeks 38 and 39. Currently, the numbers are going down, which is a good sign for the returning of schools.

In order for schools to return research has proven that the numbers need to curve. The problem with this is that if schools are reopened, there’s a certainty that the numbers are bound to go up. There would have to be discussion of how each school will return and the type of schedule it will have. Whether it is all normal classes or hybrid a couple days out of the week classes would also factor in as well. School and health officials have to ensure the risk is as low as possible and currently, the risk is too high.

Another unusual topic that arose from the closing of schools is politics as Donald Trump has been trying to reopen the schools and has even threatened to cut off federal funding if they don’t. However, his ability to do anything about the situation is limited. The reopening of schools truly depends on the governor of the state.

The governor will usually have multiple health officials report to them with updates of cases and if they felt the time was right they can reopen. This has been seen in Atlanta and other states across the country.

To this day, schools have not returned. The governor of California, Governor Gavin Newsom, stated before the school started, “California school campuses in 32 of the counties hardest hit by COVID-19 aren’t likely to reopen at the beginning of the school year.”

(ED Source)
It’s important to remember that the safety of the students and staff have to come first. It can easily be forgotten in a time when frustration and loss of motivation occur because schools are closed and students are distanced from learning.

The truth is nobody knows for sure when in-person classes will resume, but there are factors involved with reopening schools.

At Da Vinci, much of the guidance is from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). They have an extensive COVID-19 page with a lot for schools to consider. Their guiding principles are maintaining continuity of instruction, keeping students and staff safe and healthy, ensuring access and equity for all students, communicating with stakeholders, such as staff, families, bargaining units, and partners, and ensuring flexibility to meet the needs and advocate for all students while maintaining fiscal solvency.

Their focus isn’t on the things they have no control over, like whether the cases go up or down. They are focused on the things they do have control over and what they can affect or impact. Just recently, Los Angeles had a rise in cases, so some reopening efforts have been delayed.

“At this point, it’s unclear when we would return exactly, but that information can and probably will change based on more info we get,” said Assistant Principal Andrew Daramola.

Almost every time schools announced a date on schools returning to normal, it resulted in cases rising and eventually being closed down in some form like in New York.

Anything can happen over the course of the next few months.

“I can tell you that we won’t be returning to school before January; and that it is up in the air right now about what will happen after that. If cases go down significantly…we could start thinking about what it would mean to return to school.”