A school closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic sits empty in New Orleans

As Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote, ““It is easier to start a war than to end it.” The same can be said about education’s battle with covid-19 — starting with the abrupt closing of over 90% of the schools around the country in March and leading to the return to school (or some variation thereof) in the coming weeks or months. As monumentally challenging as  the closing of school was just a few weeks go, the challenge of re-entry is all the more enormous and onerous — fueled by uncertainty, health risks, insufficient resources, limited knowledge, trauma, hunger, partisan politics, to name just a few.  

Education leaders at the local and state levels are facing complex interrelated questions not only about when to re-open, but also about how it can be safely done, what should be delivered, and why it needs to happen.  Many of these issues center on equity and the access to high quality instruction and opportunity and, then, they flare out in all sorts of operational and practical directions. This USA Today report  lays out a nightmarish scenario for the return. 

In response, various  education policy groups and leaders have done some terrific thinking and doing in the past ten days to provide ideas and strategies for education decision makers in the whole process of return and reentry. Here is a sampling:

And as with war, the education’s battle with COVID-19 will not just end suddenly with the return to school. The impacts will continue for many months, if not years, as schooling adapts to a permanent new normal.