All Hands on Deck: Guidance Regarding Reopening School Buildings
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our schools, our economy, and our nation’s families, exacerbating racial inequities and placing a disproportionate burden on communities of color throughout the country. While physically opening schools at the beginning of the 2020–2021 school year is the goal of most districts, the decision of when to reopen school buildings must be rooted in health and safety and not based on an arbitrary start date or any other priority. However, COVID-19 has also brought an opportunity to reimagine and reengineer the policies and processes that have benefited some students while not prioritizing other students, specifically under- resourced students, Black and Brown students, and students with disabilities.
This is an opportunity to intentionally plan for school success during COVID-19 and beyond with health, safety, and equity at the forefront. We encourage educators to seek out opportunities to engage in dialogue and unlearn biases and deficit ideologies about students, parents, and communities. We also advocate that educators move to practice the types of teaching that will benefit all learners.