Schools help children develop a capacity to get along with other people, make friends, cooperate, negotiate and collaborate. School is where children learn to organize themselves with peers and function as a team, said Bierman, a distinguished professor of child-clinical psychology and director of the Child Study Center at Penn State University.
Here are other general themes on which there seems to be agreement:
The reopening of schools will be led by local leaders, communities and conditions. It will not look the same everywhere. Districts with few cases of COVID-19 may have less restrictions and less concern from parents and teachers than metro Atlanta or Dougherty County, which experienced one of the worst outbreaks in the country.
While reopenings may not look the same around the country, they will all be hampered by state budget cuts that could range from 10% to 30%. Those drastic cuts will impede many recommendations, including increased sanitation and cleaning as it would require a tripling of custodial staffs in schools to follow the high standards of hospitals.
Schools ought to brace and plan for teacher shortages as older teachers may opt not to return. About 18% to 20% of teachers fall into the vulnerable age categories. The question is whether those at-risk teachers will don masks and return to their classrooms or retire.
The debate over whether online classes can effectively replace in-person classes is moot. In many cases, districts will simply not have the choice. Energy now has to go to improving online delivery, which is more likely to continue in middle and high schools classes. While the best technology during the COVID quarter was generally what schools and teachers already knew how to use, there are expectations now that educators will deepen their online instructional capabilities. (Although my own queries show summer training options for teachers vary by district in Georgia.)