NASBE President Quoted on COVID-19 Recovery
NASBE President and CEO Robert Hull was quoted in the Associated Press story, “American schools may look radically different as they reopen.” An excerpt from the story:
Robert Hull, president and chief executive of the National Association of State Boards of Education, said administrators across the country are asking not how, but if, schools will reopen in the fall, and planning for any number of scenarios.
Everything is being considered, he said, from masks and gloves to cutting class sizes and adding portable classrooms. Officials also are weighing the virus’s impact on how school buildings and buses are cleaned, how to protect custodial staff, how food is prepared and how health care is delivered.
“Everybody says we hope we return to normal,” Hull said. “It’s not going to return to normal anytime soon because the new normal is going to be different.”
For the moment, many districts are focused on trying to get through the school year while keeping an eye on what might happen in the fall.
“You’re making battle plans,” Hull said. Schools need to plan for a variety of possibilities: What if the virus is contained? What if the curve is flattened but there are still infections in the community? What if a new wave is starting? Schools need “not just Plan A and Plan B, but it maybe Plan C and Plan D.”
Newsom said he won’t loosen California’s mandatory, stay-at-home order until hospitalizations, particularly those in intensive care units, “flatten and start to decline.” And he said the state needs more testing, treatment and the ability for businesses, schools and childcare facilities to continue the physical distancing that has come to dominate public life. He said he would revisit the question of easing restrictions in two weeks.
Similar conversations are taking place at state school boards across the country. The issue is on Idaho’s agenda Thursday, and several other states, including Arkansas and Mississippi, are starting to have the discussion, Hull said.
Issues of equity loom, including how to measure what students are learning and how to help those who have fallen behind. Many of the association’s members are discussing what to do this summer and contemplating whether to extend the school year to offer summer learning, Hull said.