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Back to School During a Pandemic: Do Schools Have What They Need?


Written by Jim Romeo A


bout 60 percent of K-12 students nationwide re- turned to school in-person this fall, either for full in-person education or a hybrid model, according to a School Transportation News reader survey


conducted in September. But COVID-19 outbreaks in communities can quickly reverse those numbers, and many parents continue to keep their children at home and in virtual classroom out of fear. This reality has required school districts to step up their efforts to combat the coronavirus with equipment and supplies, including ventilation systems, tracing technology, masks, cleaning equipment, and others. These districts used funding from multiple sources including their own budgets, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or other state and local funds. And districts continue to seek more resourc- es, as they utilize all that are available.


Reopening Strategies with Available Resources At about the same time as the 2020-2021 school year started, the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard opened for business as a means of disseminating live


34 School Transportation News • NOVEMBER 2020


information regarding COVID-19. The dashboard is a collaborative effort between the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, with help from Brown University and software firm Qualtrics. While the number of respondents is minimal at this writing, three of the top four mitigation strate- gies indicated by the dashboard are masks for students, masks for staff, and improved ventilation. These and other supplies and asset investments are


part of a mixed bag of strategies schools are using to reopen and operate. Each school district has its own approach, driven by policy, budget and the local infec- tion rate.


View the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard developed for The Superintedent’s Association, the National Association of Elementary School


Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals at stnonline.com/go/7y.


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