A furor is afoot in America over the question of when and how the nation’s schools should reopen for the fall semester which approaches fast.
This week, President Trump suggested he would withhold federal funds if school districts don’t reopen for in-person learning this fall, and further indicated the Centers for Disease Control should loosen its rules to allow for reopening. The comments brought heated debate.
Meanwhile, as a natural heatwave grips our region and the coronavirus pandemic maintains its hold nationwide, local education officials are taking the steps necessary for reopening without Trump’s prompting. Since the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health released a 60-page document containing reopening guidelines on June 23, these officials have poured over it to determine how to make in-person learning a reality.
At least two schools districts, the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School district and the Bourbonnais Elementary School District, have set schedules calling for on-site classes to begin in mid-August. Expect other local districts to follow the same lead when they hold their next board meetings.
No one on either side of the political coin seems to disagree with the point that children are better served by attending school in person rather than learning remotely. Regardless of what the rest of the country is doing, a concerted effort is being put forth here to make it happen.
But remember this: The “normal’’ we once knew won’t soon return. A “new’’ normal is being crafted in response to this pandemic, and BBCHS Superintendent Scott Wakeley acknowledged as much in recent comments to the Daily Journal.
Wakeley pointed out that the protective face mask rule will be in place even though nobody, including himself, likes it. He also warned that school might suddenly close one day for deep cleaning if a positive coronavirus case is traced to the building.
Wakeley summed up the situation this way:
“We are all going to do the best we can, and we all have to work together.’’
For the sake of the children, we should heed these words.