Back to school, 2020 edition

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial 

The 2020 edition of anything just isn’t normal. It seems like it was aligned in the stars for this to be a year that tested us in many different ways.

Now that same challenge will be faced as we near the start of the 2020 school year.

The back-to-school rush is normally filled with teachers prepping their classrooms, principals preparing for the year ahead, superintendents managing school operations for the school system, parents back-to-school shopping and kids filled with butterflies and disappointment at the same time that school is almost here again.

This year, however, there is confusion and angst as to what the 2020 school year is going to look like during the middle of a pandemic.

After last school year ended early on March 13, most parents and students are to the point of begging to be back to normal for the upcoming school year, and after State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey held a press conference on June 26, it seems as if that may be on the horizon… maybe?

The press conference didn’t really give us a whole lot as far as what will be required, but instead left almost everything throughout the school year up to local superintendents.

Mackey did say students would be back on campus this year but at-home learning would be an option for those who do not wish to return in person.

There were suggestions on how to handle the school year, including setting up classrooms and how to handle an outbreak.

But there is still a lot of confusion among teachers, parents and students.

It was encouraged by Mackey that schools push back their start date, which may have to be the case as we near one month until many schools are expected to start back.

Right now, the logistics of how to set the classroom up, do kids wear masks, do schools take temperatures, do they check for symptoms, do they have directional arrows in the hallway and many other concerns are all subjects local and statewide officials are discussing.

But that leaves teachers, parents and students up in the air with a month until the school year starts.

Safety has to be the number one concern, but in Alabama 19.8 percent of all cases are between the ages of 0 and 24, while 0.4 percent of those in that age range with positive cases have died.

We’ll probably see more normality because of those numbers with as much precaution as possible, but a plan needs to be set soon so the teachers, students and parents it impacts can start to prepare.