Back to school won’t mean back to normal
May 11, 2021
Episode 430

Back to school won’t mean back to normal

Schools are reopening and teachers are vaccinated, but The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss says kids can expect to be back online at least partially this fall.

This economy won’t reopen until schools reopen, full stop.

So how are we doing on that? More than half of schools teaching up to eighth grade have reopened for in-person instruction, and a large majority of teachers and other relevant workers are vaccinated. But most students are still learning at least partly online and, of course, it’s nearly summer break. No one seems to know what fall will bring.

“It’s from coast to coast, top to bottom of the country, there’s uncertainty everywhere,” said Valerie Strauss, a Washington Post education reporter.

On today’s show, Strauss will walk us through the public health thinking around schools, where teachers unions can fit in and what parents can expect for their kids this fall. The upshot? Things won’t be normal right away, Strauss said. You can expect more hybrid classrooms.

But this long experiment in remote school and the “new normal” that comes after could hold exciting opportunities, Strauss said. Schools could eventually give students and parents more control over how and when learning happens.

“If there’s one thing people agree on is that virtual for most kids was not sufficient, and in many cases was an utter disaster,” Strauss said. “The human tendency is usually to fall back on what you know, but it could be that this could start something where there’s more individual agency about a school day.”

Later on, we’ll hear from a listener who feels like she’s the only one missing the office and another who’s grateful for the break in paying off student loans. Plus, we’ll bring it back full circle as a teacher answers the Make Me Smart Question.

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Here’s everything we talked about today:

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer