Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper discussed the problems teachers and students will encounter as they return to school amidst the pandemic when she appeared on America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on Aug. 8.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect everyone throughout the nation, parents, students, teachers and school staff members all nervously await the opening of schools.
Cropper started by laying out the policies that have been placed by many states and school districts. The common safety protocols are social distancing, regular deep cleaning of classrooms and facilities and stricter rules to keep students apart.
Cropper added that many are not comfortable about what everyone will be walking into.
She highlighted the teachers who are worried about personal protective equipment and if it will be provided to them, the PPE students will have and how cleaning supplies will make their way into each classroom.
She also mentioned how fast illnesses travel in tightly packed schools and how the spread rate of COVID-19 makes for a potentially disastrous outcome.
She moved onto the threat of cutting federal funding if schools do not reopen. She said all of the people who work at schools are doing their best to make sure schools can reopen, but that it must be done safely and with protocol in place if things go wrong. She noted the callousness of forcing schools to open, even if it is not safe.
Finally, Cropper talked about the digital divide. This exists when comparing high-income locations to low-income locations. Since this school year will be heavily reliant on technology, students in poorer districts may fall behind due to the lack of in-home internet access.