We are fast approaching one year since COVID-19 dramatically upended life in the US.
As the vaccination rollouts continue, one of the pressing issues for both parents and teachers is when schools should reopen. The CDC has urged K–12 schools to reopen with proper mitigation practices in place, and there are health experts like Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who said last November that schools could be "bolder" than they are right now. "Obviously, if going back to in-person education was going to lead to a lot of infections and deaths, you’d say OK, that’s a cost we can’t bear," he told Education Week. "But districts that are being too cautious are doing enormous harm to children and families in their communities." Research shows that classrooms aren’t superspreader hotbeds and that the strain the pandemic has put on children’s mental health and academic success is concerning.
But teachers unions are much more cautious. “I need to worry about not just what my students are facing, but also what my family and myself are facing,” Lori Torres, a Spanish teacher in Chicago, told CNN last month. “I think it's OK that, at a time like this, that I take a step back and consider me at this point.”
On Friday, the CDC updated its guidelines to say that schools could reopen without teachers getting the inoculation, an idea many unions across the country are fighting against.
Some teachers have said they fear the virus, and they don’t believe their schools can open safely without proper funding from the federal government.
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