Former Stoneleigh Fellows Meredith Matone and David Rubin shared the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s recommendations for safely reopening schools with the Philadelphia Notebook.
Back in May, as our team of pediatric health experts drafted health and safety guidance for reopening schools, we felt optimistic. Cases were falling, a quiet summer of COVID-19 felt possible — and for a brief moment, even likely.
What a difference eight weeks made. It is time to admit that with a runaway epidemic, which we project will only worsen, we are failing in our goal to protect schools. Despite the tireless planning schools have done since spring, last week large districts in Phoenix, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Diego delayed in-person learning. In our city, the School District of Philadelphia announced a hybrid in-person/virtual learning model. The districts that have adopted these models aim to preserve student connectivity while upholding health and safety practices.
This week, though, Arlington, Va., reversed their plan for a hybrid model and announced online learning to start the school year. As we watch the dominoes fall, the decision for virtual reopening is as understandable as it is upsetting.