AASA Resolution to Reopen Nation’s Schools (5/29/20)

 AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the nation’s premier organization representing and supporting superintendents and other public school district leaders, is pleased to release a resolution to support a safe, healthy and district-specific reopening process that was informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Today’s announcement comes following the creation of the AASA COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, comprised of superintendents from across the country charged with recommending solutions for our nation’s more than 13,000 school districts on how schools will reopen and what they will look like in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

“This is the beginning of a powerful change in American education,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We all agree that we cannot return to business as usual. This can be a watershed point in our history where we succeed in promoting equity and excellence for all learners. It is important for fellow superintendents to think about logistics for reopening. We need to ask ourselves ‘What will have to happen?’ and ‘How will it happen?’”

VIDEO: Dan Domenech introduces the resolution.

The following concerns were raised at the kick-off task force meeting, held virtually earlier this month.

  • What are current superintendents thinking about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact upon their school districts and communities?
  • What are their plans so far for reopening?
  • How can we bring consistency and alignment to formulate a set of recommendations to address the multiple contingencies associated with reopening?

According to the resolution, “AASA contends that the reopening of schools should be a local or regional decision informed by applicable health, safety and disinfecting recommendations articulated by the CDC, as well as state and local health agencies. AASA asserts that each school district should be permitted to determine the timing and scheduling configuration of its schools using health data and benchmarks related to COVID-19 specific to its geographic location and communities.”

Through the task force’s meetings in May, the following priority areas emerged as controlling principles for reopening guidelines:

  • Plan for multiple reopening scenarios and contingencies to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all students and staff
  • Build a COVID-19 response for reopening infrastructure aligned with changing scenarios and needs
  • Ensure students’ and families’ equitable access to technology required for virtual learning
  • Provide continuing support to students and adults to address their immediate and long-term physical, psychological, social and emotional needs
  • Make certain that all schools are trauma-informed and trauma-skilled
  • Prepare for COVID-19-related changes in human resource management and practices
  • Offer ongoing personalized and differentiated professional learning
  • Transform the teaching-learning-assessment process to ensure personalization, engagement and differentiation
  • Anticipate COVID-19-related budget and fiscal management issues
  • Embrace a new paradigm for public education

“I commend the AASA COVID-19 Recovery Task Force,” added Domenech. “Who better to determine the timing and configuration for reopening our schools at a most challenging time in our nation’s history than superintendents? They are our champions for children.”

AASA is expected to release a consensus-driven set of guidelines for reopening schools in June. Click here to access the Resolution in Support of a Safe, Healthy and District-Specific Reopening Process Informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines.

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