With each passing day of summer, the new school year gets closer. When schools across the United States moved online in March and April, many hoped that the coronavirus pandemic would subside by the time autumn rolled around. However, due to extreme mismanagement by government at all levels and pressure from the capitalist class for businesses to reopen as quickly as possible, the number of cases in the United States has only continued to rise.
From preschools all the way up to graduate programs, some institutions have chosen to continue holding in-person classes in the fall, some have chosen to hold everything online, and many have chosen a blended model somewhere between the two. Still others have yet to announce any definitive plan at all.
Public education is woefully underfunded even under normal circumstances, and CARES Act money is not nearly enough to fulfill all of the additional needs generated by the pandemic. Even though online learning is the best way to limit exposure to the virus, many students lack the technological access at home needed to participate, and many more depend on schools for meals, shelter, and safety. Additionally, although ICE has rescinded their initial policy dictating that international students whose schools in the United States move all-online must leave the country or be deported, the Department of Homeland Security has said they are still going to issue a new set of regulations in the coming weeks. Without a massive, immediate shift in education policy — unlikely to happen under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is committed to as many schools reopening with as little investment in public education as possible — there is no good solution.
Given these circumstances, we are seeking contributions from students and from education workers of all kinds: teachers of any age group, school administrators, and staff members of any role. What is your school or district’s plan for the fall, and how will it affect you and your work? What do people need to know about the conditions that students and employees will be facing?
We welcome articles, personal testimony, images, video-diaries, and other forms of contributions. Please email us at [email protected].