It’s late August and for millions of students, that means going back to school. But because of the Coronavirus, parents, students and teachers across the country are facing some truly harrowing choices. Go back to the classroom or stay home and do our best long distance? Should my school try a hybrid approach? Differing approaches in each state are also adding to the confusion. Here in my home state of Minnesota, for example, the governor is taking it county by county. In person learning is moving forward where infection rates are lower. But reopening schools now could ignite an explosion of infection because it’s happening just as the pandemic is moving into rural America.
Neither children nor teachers are immune from Covid-19. Therefore Trump’s policy could be a death sentence for many teachers and students alike. It’s a short term solution, but the consequences of reopening schools too soon could have terrible long term consequences. We could loose a generation of teachers. The argument to reopen is primarily economic. We need to get the economy going and help people get back to work so that means getting kids must go back to school. But this raises an important question:
Do we really want to put the burden of this health and economic crisis on the shoulders of American teachers?
Today’s interview addresses all of these questions with an educator who has looked at all angles. Gina McKuen has been a California middle school teacher for 27 years and knows all about what happens when you put 30+ kids together in a classroom. She joins us today to share her perspective as a teacher and as the mother of two second-graders. Her family’s journey highlights what is happening in homes across our country. With candor, wit and wisdom she describes her fears about what may happen in the coming months and alternative approaches that could save the lives of many students and teachers alike.