Citing a “pandemic of inequity and racism, and classism,” a school district outside Chicago said it would allow “black and brown” students to get priority to in-person classes when its schools reopen for the fall term, a report said.
Melissa Messinger, the District 65 spokeswoman, told Fox News that the decision stems from earlier “guidance released by the Illinois State Board of Education.” She said that the district, which encompasses Evanston and Skokie, “will continue to root our decisionmaking on how to best serve our most vulnerable student populations.”
The district seems to be opening itself up to reputational liabilities. Although the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said schools should reopen, an early outbreak that infects many of these children could result in allegations that they were essentially being used like canaries in the coal mine.
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Fox News said the students that will get priority to return to the classroom will also include those receiving free lunches and “emerging bilinguals.” The schools there are set to reopen on Sept. 29, but will only reportedly be open to 60 percent of its class sizes.
“We’re in a pandemic,” Devon Horton, the district’s superintendent, told the RoundTable. “And we also know that everyone is affected by this differently. But there was a pandemic before this. That was inequity and racism, and classism and all of these other things. And so, I just want to make sure that, as we’re making the decision, no decision is going to make everyone happy.”
The debate to reopen schools in the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak has been a fierce one. Teachers’ unions have held dramatic protests with carboard coffins to help illustrate the health concerns they face. They are largely supported by Democrat politicians who say that any of these reopenings are just another example of President Trump’s recklessness.
Many Republicans see these union reactions as nothing more than morbid political theater.
They point to the fact that millions of Americans continued to work at factories and grocery stores during the pandemic in order to keep the country running, and now it is time to reopen the classroom.