The district calls it just one more layer of protection, and when you think about it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad. The reality though of hastily installed, hard to clean, and according to reports fairly easy to destroy shields that hopefully we won’t need longer than six months is another thing.
So I wanted to look and see what else the district could have spent that money on and it turns out it is quite a lot.
From Future Ed,
The law list 12 allowable uses of the $13.2 billion in the package’s K-12 relief fund:
- Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, or subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with state, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including for how to provide meals to eligible students, how to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under IDEA and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.
3, 4 sounds like the district could have invested in, more custodians, nurses, social workers, mental health counselors, and busses, busses, busses, lots of busses to me. Of course, even if you had the money for those things finding them could prove difficult.
8, 9, sounds like a massive purchase of laptops, and hot spots could have happened.
10, we are going to need mental health support, but so far as I can tell, the district has shrugged its shoulders, though once again, staffing could be an issue.
This is what I think, if we had a robust mask and ease of movement policy, we could open the schools at all levels four days a week, come in Monday and Tuesday, the schools close for deep cleaning on Wednesday and back in Thursday and Friday.
I think to make this work we have to stagger start times even in schools. First and second grade 8, third and 4th, 8:30, 5th grade 9. I also think we have to keep groups together, even in high school, where it will be crazy difficult, that way if, sorry, when a kid or staff member gets sick, we don’t have to close the entire school just that class.
We should all acknowledge how difficult this is and that the district is working very hard, but if I am being honest, which I always try to be, I don’t get what they are doing. Their plan, to me, seems to be offering the worst of all worlds and guarantees classes and schools will close.