Principal Expresses Frustration With the New CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools

Gerry Brooks

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines quite a bit. They have been updated from time to time with the intension of keeping us all safe.

Some of the guidelines are quite easy to understand and not too hard to implement. We’re talking about things like social distancing and wearing face coverings when out in public. We’ve actually started getting used to these new ways of life, but some of the CDC guidelines are not going to be quite as easy to follow. We’re talking about the new guidelines for safely reopening schools.

Parents and teachers have been dealing with distance learning for months, and it has definitely had its challenges. Zoom and Google Classroom were not familiar until recently. Many parents found themselves working from home for the first time while also suddenly becoming their children’s substitute teacher.

That’s not to say that teachers haven’t been working. Conducting class via Zoom, dealing with technology issues and finding ways to connect with students remotely cannot be easy.

It’s safe to say that many teachers and parents have been looking forward to the day when children can safely return to school. Unfortunately, according to the CDC guidelines, a safe return to school is going to require some major, and possibly impossible, changes from schools across the country.

For example, the CDC recommends that students’ desks are 6 feet apart and that students eat in the classroom instead of in the cafeteria. That’s just the beginning.

Gerry Brooks is a school principle, and he is completely outraged by the CDC guidelines. He finds them ridiculous and chose to share his opinions in a YouTube video. 

Many viewers have commented on this video, chiming in with their own opinions on the CDC guidelines for the safe reopening of schools. Here’s one comment that shows just how impossible these guidelines will be for some schools and teachers.

“I teach middle school science in Michigan. I do a lot of activities in my class. I’d better make a list of everything I am going to need for my 150 students. Let’s see. I’m going to need 150 individual microscopes, triple beam balances, magnifying glasses, hot plates, calculators, meter sticks, goggles, lab aprons, beakers, flasks, test tubes, chemicals, slinkys, baseballs, tennis balls, ping pong balls, pedometers, rocks and mineral sets, density cube sets… and … and … and… sinks!!!  (Can’t share a sink, for goodness sake!!) No sweat! Done! Oh wait! What?My principal just said that because of the lack of money coming in to our state through sales tax, our district is going to have to reduce our budget between 15-25% and we have to let teachers go! No, problem. I just told him to order me 180 of everything I need then!”

Here’s another comment that, while agreeing with Brooks also points out that there do need to be some changes.

“I hear what you are saying….I teach at a title school, LOVE my students and know distance learning is not was is best for them.  By the same token, I almost lost a family member to COVID-19.  My question is, what then, is the BEST solution?  We can ask the CDC to retract, but what are we going to ask them to replace their recommendations with?  As educators, we need to be able to come up with suggestions and solutions.  If we know this is impossible, then, we need to be able to bring a plan to the table that is going to help everyone move forward in the best way possible.”

What do you think of the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools? Do you have any suggestions of more “realistic” guidelines?