Thoughtful Twitter feed from an Ohio public school teacher… who also happens to be a city mayor:
A lot of back and forth has happened regarding opening schools, but I’m not sure people realize what a full reopening would actually look like at the High School level.
At the High School where I teach, we have an average class size of around 25 students. The classes are arranged so each student is sitting about 1.5 feet away from each other.
Over the course of a school day, each teacher instructs during 6 bells. 6 bells x 25 students = 150 students over the course of a day in a setting that is not socially distanced.
Good instruction and classroom management requires the teacher to circulate the classroom to help and provide feedback to each individual student.
Some claim that masks will help. Those people have clearly never had to enforce a school dress code.
I want to be back in the classroom as much as anyone else, and I absolutely want my own children back at school, but a full reopening is not safe for anyone involved.
School boards are being asked to weigh the mental health of students v the physical health of students, their families, and their staff.
This is an impossible task and I applaud the boards who are getting creative to find solutions that won’t make anyone happy.
What school boards, teachers, and most importantly STUDENTS don’t need right now is politicians who have never taught one minute in the classroom asserting their agendas into this already difficult situation.
Even worse is the business community valuing their bottom dollar over the health and safety of the children and staff of our schools.
My district tried to bring sports conditioning back and already had to shut that down because of an active case of Covid. Do these politicians not realize this will happen on day 1 of school this year?
We need to formulate plans assuming that Covid-positive students are going to walk in the door on the first day, many of them asymptomatic. We need reopening plans with less students in each classroom so that they will be socially distanced from each other and their teachers.
If politicians want to help, then they need to be securing public spaces such as libraries, community centers, churches, etc., that can house classes so that students can spread out.
They also need to secure funding to hire paraprofessionals to help monitor students in these auxiliary classrooms as they complete virtual assignments.
Until then, I don’t want to hear another politician or business leader tell the schools to reopen.
I’m in the unique position of being a Mayor and teacher. I’m sure I won’t be 100% happy with the decision my employer makes but I won’t use my political bully pulpit to attack them.
I’m extremely disappointed in my fellow electeds who are making the situation worse.
~James Wolf, Social Studies Teacher at Mt. Healthy High School and Mayor of Mount Healthy, Ohio