In New York State, Defendant New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE), the largest school district in the United States (more than 1 million students), will not have students return to class this summer,, but will open sites across the city to offer some one-on-one speech, physical, and occupational therapy services for special needs students. They will not provide transportation, even though special transportation is considered a related service under the IDEA.,Attendance in September will be limiting in-person services to 1-3 days a week. The United Federation of Teacher has stated reopening in September is premature and wants City Hall to also address the childcare crisis, and having a nurse in every building. The city’s principals’ union has sided with the UFT in their objection to reopening schools in September. They sent the Department of Education a list of 141 questions it says the city must answer before reopening schools, “It is abundantly clear that the [Department of Education] has not provided you with the guidance and relevant information necessary for you to effectively plan for the opening of school buildings and offices in the fall,” wrote Mark Cannizzaro, the head of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
In California, which has four of the largest school districts, Defendant Los Angeles Unified (more than 633,000 students), Defendant San Diego Unified (more than 128,000 students), Defendant Long Beach Unified (more than 76,000 students), and Defendant Fresno Unified (more than 73,000 students), districts will not be reopening in the beginning of the school year. The Los Angeles Teachers Union demands theimplementation of a moratorium on private schools, defunding the police, increasing taxes on the wealthy, implementing Medicare for all, and passing the HEROES Act in order to reopen schools.Further, schools may seek waivers to reopen, but only with union support. The San Diego Teachers Union demands near zero COVID-19 cases, or a downward trajectory for two weeks, in addition to continuous frequent testing of students and faculty, and full funding of all necessary prevention measures in order to return to work.
The Defendant City of Chicago School District in Illinois is the third-largest school district (more than 378,000 students). The district has not made any announcements when they will resume in-person serviceseven though the state has provided guidance on how to reopen.
Floridahas ten of the largest school districts, Defendant Miami-Dade County School District (more than 357,000 students), Defendant Broward County School District (more than 271,000 students), Defendant Hillsborough County School District (more than 214,000 students), Defendant Orange County School District (more than 200,000 students), Defendant Palm Beach County School District (more than 192,000 students), Defendant Duval County School District (more than 129,000 students), Defendant Pinellas County School District (more than 102,000 students), Defendant Polk County School District (more than 102,000 students), Defendant Lee County School District (more than 92,000 students), and Defendant Brevard County School District (more than 73,000 students). Lee, Brevard, Polk, Orange, Duval, and Hillsborough County school districts will reopen in August (no start date) for in-person learning five days a week with the option for remote learning.,,,,, Pinellas County School District is giving three options – (1) continue face-to-face, (2) enroll in a 9-week virtual learning plan, or (3) enroll in an 18-week virtual learning plan. Palm Beach will take a staggered approach, starting with distance learning, and opening campuses as COVID-19 conditions improve.Broward School District is discussing taking a hybrid approach, but has not made a decision.Miami-Dade School District will not be able to reopen if they are still in Phase 1 by the start of the school year.
Defendant Clark County School District in Nevada (more than 326,000 students)plans to reopen starting August 24th with a hybrid learning model that will have students in class 2 days a week and virtual learning 3 days a week.
Texas has eight of the largest school districts, Defendants Houston ISD (more than 216,000 students), Dallas ISD (more than 157,000 students), Cypress-Fairbanks ISD (more than 114,000 students), Northside ISD (more than 106,000 students), Fort Worth ISD (more than 87,000 students), Austin ISD (more than 83,000 students), Katy ISD (more than 75,000 students) and Fort Bend ISD (more than 74,000 students). Most Texas school districts are pushing back their in-person start dates, and most schools will have to resort to 100% virtual learning for three to six weeks.
In Virginia, three of the largest school districts, Defendants Fairfax County School District (more than 187,000 students), Prince William County School District (more than 89,000 students), and Loudoun County School District (more than 78,000 students), are taking a hybrid approach to reopening, in that 50% will be in person, and 50% will be virtual learning.,,,
The Defendant Hawaii Department of Education (more than 181,000 students) plans to reopen schools starting August 4, 2020, while following all health and safety guidelines, while also implementing a hybrid approach where it is needed.,
Four of the largest school districts located in Georgia, Defendants Gwinnett County School District (more than 178,000 students), Cobb County School District (more than 113,000 students), DeKalb County School District (more than 101,000 students), and Fulton County School District (more than 96,000 students), are planning to have face-to-face learning as an option starting in August, but have since rolled back on those plans and are only holding virtual learning options until further notice.
Two of the nation’s largest school districts are in North Carolina, Defendants Wake County School District (more than 160,000 students) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (more than 147,000 students). Wake County schools will reopen in August with students rotating to keep one-third capacity at all times, until social distancing restrictions become looser.Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will reopen on August 17th for two weeks of in-person orientation, and will then return to remote learning indefinitely.
Maryland has five of the largest school districts, Defendants Montgomery County School District (more than 159,000 students), Prince George’s County School District (more than 130,000 students), Baltimore County School District (more than 112,000 students), Baltimore City School District (more than 82,000 students), and Anne Arundel County School District (more than 81,000 students). All districts are beginning with virtual learning until further notice, some as late as February.
Tennessee has two of the largest school districts, Defendant Shelby County School District (more than 111,000 students) and Davidson County School District (more than 85,000 students). Shelby County School District will resume in-person learning starting August 31st, with the option for remote learning. Davidson County School District will remain remote until at least Labor Day.
Defendant Jefferson County School District in Kentucky (more than 99,000 students) is undecided on what to do for the coming school year. The district is deciding between 100% remote learning, and giving parents the choice between in-person and remote learning (leaning towards 100% remote learning).
Colorado has two of the largest school districts, Defendants Denver School District (more than 91,000 students) and Jefferson County School District (more than 86,000 students). Jefferson County School district plans on returning to 100% in-person learning five days a week, with the option for those who do not feel comfortable returning to continue with virtual learning. Denver Public Schools, however, plan on keeping students learning remotely at the start of the school year (August 24th), and will reconsider
Defendant Albuquerque School District in New Mexico (more than 90,000 students) will reopen with a hybrid approach, keeping 50% capacity at all times.
Defendant Alpine School District in Utah (more than 78,000 students)will be reopening in August with face-to-face instruction for students, and an online learning option for those who choose not to return in-person.,
Defendant Greenville School District in South Carolina (more than 76,000 students)is still weighing four options for the beginning of the school year. Two options involve a hybrid schedule, and the other two options are 100% in-person learning, or 100% remote learning.
Defendant Milwaukee School District in Wisconsin (more than 76,000 students)unanimously decided to reopen starting August 17th with a three-phase plan. Phase 1 will be virtual learning, Phase 2 will be a hybrid approach, and Phase 3 will be in-person learning with the option for remote learning.
The Democratic Socialists of America have created a coalition of many teachers unions (including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Milwaukee, Little Rock and Oakland) demanding the following BEFORE schools can reopen: 1) Ban new charter schools, 2) Ban private school choice, 3) Police-free schools, 4) Moratorium on standardized testing, and 5) Moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs. Other local teachers’ unions around the country are making additional demands wholly unrelated to the original purpose of closing the schools before they can reopen. A Massachusetts teachers union is demanding the dismantling the system of institutionalized racism, eliminate the MCAS and take police officers out of schools. A North Carolina teachers’ union is demanding the implementation of universal health care and welfare benefits for illegal immigrants in order to reopen schools in the fall. They are also demanding another statewide shutdown, and a suspension on mortgage payments. Teachers unions across the country are demanding they work fewer hours and not be subject to fixed times for live online teaching, but rather have the students work on large projects until schools are safe to reopen. The Fairfax Education Association in Virginia is demanding a vaccine or widely available treatment for COVID-19 before schools fully reopen, which medical professionals have stated may never happen.
On June 24, 2020, at an emergency local school board meeting to discuss reopening schools, Dr. Mark McDonald, a psychiatrist who specialized in children and at-risk youth stated,
“Children are not dying from Covid-19. Children are not passing the disease on to adults. So the only question is, “Why are we even having this meeting tonight?” We’re meeting because we adults are afraid.
As parents, we will face many moments of anxiety: seeing our children off on their first day of kindergarten, their first day of camp, their first year of college. We may want to keep them home to protect them from the world, which can indeed be a frightening place. But let’s be clear, when we do that, we are not really protecting our children. We are only attempting to manage our own anxiety, and we do that at their expense. We are acting as negligent parents. We are harming our children. We are failing them.
We must agree to make decisions in the best interest of the children. If we do not – if, paralyzed by fear, we continue to act purely out of self-interest – we will ensure and entire generation of traumatized young adults, consigned to perpetual adolescence and residency in their parents’ garages, unable to move through life with independence, courage, and confidence. They deserve better – we owe it to them as parents.”
“What is truly driving the agenda to close schools,” questions Daniel Horowitz, senior editor of The Conservative Review. Horowitz wrote an article that compares and contrasts the flu and COVID-19 in children while expounding on research that highlights the deadliness of the flu season to children. “The reality is that every flu season, many more children die from this common ailment than have from COVID-19,” Horowitz claimed. He argued that unlike the flu, COVID-19 presents rare pediatric deaths and serious conditions among children. “Even those who suffer no serious consequences [of the flu] are often bedridden for a week or longer with high fever, muscle ache, and incessant coughing, unlike COVID-19, where almost every child who develops it is asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic.” Throughout the article, Horowitz cites specific severe cases of the flu in children and questions discrepancies in its overall treatment (specifically in school settings) compared with COVID-19. “… if we are going to limit or modify or schooling and mandate that kids wear suffocating masks all day, shouldn’t this be done every year from November to April – by a factor of 10? And given that the flu does linger for all months of the year at least at the threat level of COVID-19 to children during the off months, if schools are closed for COVID-19, shouldn’t they always be closed because of the flu?”