As cases of Covid-19 are on the rise and economic re-openings are being put on pause, there is one very key component of this issue that needs immediate attention that somehow our Congress and State leaders are failing to act upon: schools.
As a small business owner who has a student for a son, I’m shocked more people aren’t talking about this and demanding action from our political leaders right now.
Every parent and teacher wants their kids back this fall. The format is uncertain, but one thing is certain, and that is that if we try to replicate what we did this Spring, it’ll be a colossal disaster: not only for education, but for the economy too.
With all the conversations at the Federal and State level around another round of economic stimulus, why aren’t we immediately rushing to send funding to improve the safety of our schools this fall?
Schools not only need funding to purchase PPE and for additional janitorial cleaning, but they need funding to change the layout of the classrooms, and additional pay for teachers if they have to work longer days. To ensure that our schools don’t turn into Covid-19 hotspots, they will need a nurse in every school and equipment to do temperature checks of every child daily. Lastly, we will need a whole new army of teacher’s assistants to help ensure physical distancing when in the classroom and to help with online instruction as well.
It is not only as smart public health policy to make sure our teachers, staff and students are as best protected as possible, but is key to keeping the economy from going into a free fall once again later this fall. Moreover, with so many recent graduates unemployed right now, hiring a bunch of young, tech-savvy teacher’s assistants could be a job creator, and as they could help manage the classrooms while in-person and support online instruction since they have already had to do this in college. And if we get to the likely scenario that children will have to alternate which days they are in-school versus online, this would free up teacher’s to focus on instruction and allow these younger assistants to manage the online portion, help with tech issues, grading and of course – parent interaction.
If we do not invest now to ensure our kids, teacher and staff are as safe as possible this fall, we’ll be right back to where we were in March, with parents having to cut hours at work to provide daycare and help their children at home, and anyone concerned about the economy, can forget about it.
We need immediate funding and attention to this issue, and we need it now.
CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting
Parent and Instructor at the Harvard Extension School