Back to School - or Not so Much?

The Buncombe County School Board, like so many across the country, recently approved a Fall school plan, after grappling with the decision for weeks. As many of you know, students will start with one or two weeks of rotating in-person class and then move to remote for at least the next 4 weeks. This is called "Plan B and Beyond".

While I'm eager to join the board, I do not envy them in this case. No feasible plan could satisfy everyone, and the stakes are high in all scenarios. Remote learning is safest from a pandemic standpoint, but

many students rely on services provided in school, and parents need to work. Every option had good arguments meant to benefit students, teachers and families - and serious problems, too.

I was impressed with depth of consideration that the board gave this decision in their public discussion, and I believe all of them had the best interest of the students in mind. So how would I have voted? Going on the information I have, I would have voted for Plan B and Beyond. I believe the pandemic is unfortunately re-surging, this time more widespread in our own community, and reining it in is our top priority. I agree that the initial in-person orientation will allow teachers to begin connections with students and identify early issues. I fully agree with allowing parents to opt for fully-remote as well.

If I were creating the plan from scratch, I would design an in-person option for exceptional education students who require that in order to learn, and attempt to offer the same for students who will struggle to learn at home for environmental reasons. Every class would have some synchronous time every day, to maintain structure for students. And I would seek funding for low-income students to attend day care programs as needed. There is no ideal plan; we must continue to reassess and adjust as changing situations call for it.

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Linda Tatsapaugh


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