As I researched and explored the information for my last blog about schools re-opening, additional questions came to the surface. Local schools have begun opening and we have seen a wide array of formats for doing so. Some have chosen to go with a completely virtual format, to the ones with no restrictions at all. All districts will be closely watching to see which combinations work the best to prevent the spread and adopt them as best practice. The perspective of this blog will be more from both an educator and community standpoint, and students will definitely be affected by these issues as well. Below are some questions that might be worth pondering as you think about the big picture:

  • If a teacher (or other staff member) tests positive, what will the quarantine procedure be?
  • If a class of students is exposed to a teacher/staff member that has tested positive, what will the quarantine procedures be?
  • If the teacher tests positive and must quarantine, is their sick leave covered? Is it paid? How many times will it be allowed to happen?
  • How will all this testing be paid for?
  • What are the metrics that dictate an unsafe environment and warrant immediate school closure and a move to virtual learning only?
  • What if a teacher is exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive? Do all the same protocols go into effect, is it the same as if they had tested positive themselves?
  • Substitute teaching staff poses a whole other layer of complexity
    1. Will the districts be able to find people willing to teach in a classroom of students who are potentially infected or have been exposed to the virus, for standard wages currently paid to substitutes?
    2. What if a substitute teacher who has taught at multiple schools, is then found to have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19?
    3. Do all the kids at every school they taught at need to be tested and quarantined?
    4. What about the other teachers those students have now potentially infected with the virus?
    5. Will they require quarantine and testing as well?
    6. Who pays for the teacher’s time off?
    7. All the testing that would need to be done, who is covering that bill?
  • What will the quality of learning be? How will any actual learning be accomplished and at what stress level? How will the mental and physical health of educators, staff, support teams and students be affected? We already know that long term high stress situations are bad for us, how long will our kids be able to hold up? What about our teachers? What about us?
  • If someone in school should happen to test positive, how will you be notified? What if it is your child that tests positive, do you have to disclose that? Will the entire school population be notified who is infected and when they may have exposed you? Or will we be dreading the form letter we may get that says, “your student may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19” all year long?

  • What impact will be felt if a teacher, faculty or student passes due to complications of COVID-19?
  • What about school sports and other typical school activities? What happens to all the athletes that were working toward scholarships that cannot participate in their chosen sport right now? That is a whole different topic for perhaps a blog #3!
  • Our teachers are one of the more vulnerable groups when it comes to COVID-19, how can we ensure their safety? Currently, 30% of United States educators are over the age of 50 and 16% of the deaths from COVID-19 in the US are of people between the ages of 45-65.

I hope this provided you with some considerations that are important and worth investigating. This is not just a one size fits all situation, there are many layers that involve deep thought and creative options. For the time being we must be creative, patient, and think outside the box. We all want things to go back to regular routines, but it needs to happen in a safe and thoughtful manner taking into consideration all sides of the equation. There will be no perfect solution, but if everyone makes their best efforts to follow the guidelines provided we can at least start progressing forward.

Diane Krueger
Sales Manager
Accent Property Restoration