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Working groups begin to game plan reopening Delaware schools

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

The state’s School Reopening Working Group - tasked with planning how to bring students safely back to school this fall - started its work after a week's delay.


The group met for the first time Thursday afternoon after technical issues scuttled last week’s planned introductory session. 

It consists of three smaller groups: Health and Wellness, Academics and Equity, and Operations and Services. The smaller groups plan to meet weekly in June with final recommendations presented to the Department of Education in early July.

Each group will develop plans for three scenarios: school buildings are open, closed or a mix between the two depending on the area. Education Secretary Susan Bunting describes their mission.

"Create the conditions for every K-12 school in the state of Delaware to have a comprehensive actionable plan for return to school and to do it quickly once the decision has been made to return to school," said Bunting.

Bunting says that means making sure everyone understands how they can make that happen.

"To establish role clarity so that superintendents, school leaders and educators understand their roles and responsibilities in executing a safe, equitable and effective return to school." said Bunting. "We will build actionable frame works to ensure superintendents and school leaders have evidence-based tools that can inform their local return to school planning and implementation."

Bunting notes the group will not determine if going back into buildings is safe, but rather help everyone with the transition of returning to school

"We want to insure students, families, and educators feel informed, confident and considered in the return to the school process so we will operate with certain guiding principles for our return to school," said Bunting.

Bunting notes those principles include being transparent, equitable, putting safety first, listening to everyone involved and being decisive. 

Bunting says there will be school in September one way or another, so delaying the opening of school is apparently not an option being considered. 

Schools statewide were closed by the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March and are completing this school year with remote learning.


Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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