WHEN SHOULD THE SCHOOLS REOPEN?

School systems throughout the state are preparing various scenarios for opening public schools in the next school year. The question is, when will be the right time to open the school doors?

The school systems efforts, according to published articles, seem to focus on sending the students to classrooms, half attending two days a week, having half attend for one week at a time, or in one of the rural areas sending all of the students back to school at one time. These plans seem to raise more questions than answers.

Schools in the U.S. closed for four months prior to the summer break. The country has recently had record breaking numbers of increases in persons getting the virus. Those school systems expecting to open the school doors at the beginning of the next school year should pause to examine what is happening.

Many parents are hesitant to have their children return to school too soon. Systems will be faced with considerable absenteeism and there is also a risk of spreading the virus. And, what are the health officials saying?

There are lessons for school administrators to learn from a century ago. When the Spanish Flu broke out in 1918, schools were closed for as long as 15 weeks. A study of forty-three U.S. cities during that pandemic revealed that smooth implementation was dependent on clear lines of authority among agencies and transparent communication between health officials and the public.

The New Harford Democratic Club Education Committee encourages good communications with health officials and the public before opening the school doors in the future.  The State Superintendent of Schools stated one-third of the