I’m a former superintendent. Here’s what really worries me about reopening schools

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Schools and classrooms attended by low-income students of color could become epicenters of a second wave of pandemic. Here’s why. Classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias at schools across the U.S. have remained empty for months now. And despite some districts beginning to reopen , many others will remain closed amid fears that prematurely restarting in-person classes could cost more lives in the pandemic . Read Full Story

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Smart thermometers could be the secret to reopening schools

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A program designed to help school nurses and parents understand virus spread in classrooms is already in 10% of elementary schools. Could it help them reopen faster? On a Friday in November, Alisha Palmer, a school nurse at Jackson Park Elementary in North Carolina, noticed a few kids in the third grade were sent home with high fevers. By Monday morning, it was clear a virus had struck. Read Full Story

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To reopen schools safely, close streets and create outdoor classrooms

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New York City plans to open schools in the fall but reduce the number of children who come into the classrooms. What if these schools expanded into city streets instead? Just like restaurants have expanded into streets across the country, come fall, closing off the streets in front of schools may be a key factor in reopening children’s education. this ability to increase capacity with a flexible, modular space would satisfy common-sense social distancing practices that would be impossible to enact within the current classroom configuration found at most schools. And, most important, it comes at no cost to the city. Read Full Story

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How the government failed working parents—and which policies could help

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From essential worker stipends to paying daycare tuition, states are trying different approaches to help families with young children weather the pandemic. This story is part of Fast Company ‘s Reinventing Education package. As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we’re highlighting the ongoing efforts to keep children safe in the classroom, educate them remotely, and help their parents manage a new second shift. Click here to read the whole series. Read Full Story

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Can your school open while avoiding a COVID-19 outbreak? These 2 factors matter most

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Keeping kids in classrooms will depend on how many resources a school and a local public health department has—and whether the greater community can keep coronavirus transmission under control. This story is part of Fast Company’s Reinventing Education package. As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we’re highlighting the ongoing efforts to keep children safe in the classroom, educate them remotely, and help their parents manage a new second shift. Click here to read the whole series. Read Full Story

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Want schools to reopen? Education needs an epic bailout

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To safely reopen classrooms and allow parents to return to work, we’ll need money. Lots of it. Think of it as a correction for decades of underinvestment. Full disclosure: I put my kids in front of the TV so I could write this op-ed. That’s life during quarantine. My kids miss school, and I miss having more than ten minutes to string together a thought. Parents are losing their marbles as our kids max out on screen time and struggle without structure. So believe me when I say there is nothing I want more than to send my two kids back to our beloved local elementary school this August. Read Full Story

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Why “flexibility” may be the least helpful thing companies can offer working parents right now

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Companies have piled on the perks for parents who are working from home during the pandemic. They should have been focused on systemic change. Over Labor Day weekend, real estate mogul Rob Speyer got a call from an old friend: Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the union that represents New York City’s 75,000-plus educators. Mulgrew had a favor to ask. Could Speyer, through his role as president and CEO of Tishman Speyer, help monitor and improve ventilation in some of the city’s public schools, as he had done across his own commercial real estate portfolio? Good ventilation could reduce the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces like classrooms—and lay the foundation for reopening the schools that serve New York City’s 1.1 million students. Read Full Story

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How Google Classroom became teachers’ go-to tool—and why it’s fallen short

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At a moment when schools are making dramatic changes, the edtech leader has been quiet on the big questions—like how to make remote learning work. This story is part of Fast Company’s Reinventing Education package. As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we’re highlighting the ongoing efforts to keep children safe in the classroom, educate them remotely, and help their parents manage a new second shift. Click here to read the whole series. Read Full Story

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