Budgets put limits on social distancing options for schools – Concord Monitor

As schools consider how and when to reopen their buildings during the pandemic, many are finding themselves overwhelmed by the potential expenses that would come with operating under social distancing guidelines: protective equipment, staff for smaller classes and additional transportation to keep students spread out on bus rides.

The burdens loom large in particular for urban, under-resourced districts that often have neither the space nor the budgets to accommodate new health protocols.

In Hartford, Conn., Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez shudders at the thought of how to afford a scenario where each teacher had dramatically fewer students. In some grades, she said, she has individual teachers with as many as 27 students in their classrooms.

“My budget would be nonexistent,” she said.

The vast majority of American school districts have yet to announce when they will resume in-person instruction. The trajectory of the outbreak remains uncertain, and many are waiting on direction from their states.

In Camden, N.J., one of the state’s poorest cities, Superintendent Katrina McCombs said costs for classroom cleanings, protective equipment and other virus-related expenses are a concern, especially because the city relies on cash infusions from a state government that is facing a $10 billion shortfall over the current and next fiscal years.

“I think the big thing that comes to mind right away … just thinking about those logistics of our city, I would hope that as the governor is rolling out those recommendations, they can take those unique factors into consideration, especially in our large urban districts,” she said.

As schools reopen, it will cost the average school district about $1.8 million to make social distancing possible, according to an estimate published by the School Superintendents Association, which goes by the name AASA, and the Association of School Business Officials International. The expense will strain budgets of districts that are bracing for cuts because of the economic downturn and hoping for additional federal aid.

“You have a significant increase in costs for school districts at a time when school districts are going to have less money. Why? Because you see all of the states’ budgets are going to be decimated,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA. “How is that going to play out?”

In the town of Stonington, Connecticut, school board Chairwoman Alexa Garvey said it would help immensely with finances if the state eased guidance in place for the summer that there should be only one student on each seat of a bus. There are also unresolved questions about providing masks.

“Does every child need a mask?” she said. “What are our obligations to supplying those masks?”

The superintendent of Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools district, one of the nation’s largest, said at a recent National Press Club panel that it was considering teachers’ and parents’ input on how to continue instruction in light of changes forced by the pandemic and the associated costs.

“Based on the demands of social distancing and precautions, there will not be enough money to have the old system back in a fully functional way,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Schools with more resources will have more options.

The affluent town of Greenwich, Connecticut, where the school system has 12.2 students for every teacher and instructor on staff, is like many others developing approaches for various scenarios. To keep up social distancing when buildings reopen, Superintendent Toni Jones has said the district could use media centers, cafeterias and other spaces for classrooms to spread out staff.

In Hartford, which has 14.7 students per teacher, the district serves many high-poverty communities and also brings in thousands of students from 60 other towns through school-choice programs. The superintendent there said the challenges associated with reopening are so severe, it may be time to come up with entirely new models for instruction.

“Is it that the entire ecosystem has to be examined?” Torres-Rodriguez said. “If we’re going to go to smaller class sizes, where are we going to get more teachers from?”

“We know that we have experts in our community right now. We have our corporate. We have our industry. We have higher ed,” she said. “So how do we leverage our retirees, for example? How do we leverage our soon to be college upper class students? Industry? I just think it is an opportunity.”

Related Posts


  1. 336129 192587Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging appear straightforward. The overall appear of your internet site is excellent, as properly as the content! xrumer 10259

  2. 493708 347191Id need to speak to you here. Which is not some thing I do! I quite like reading a post which will make folks believe. Also, a lot of thanks permitting me to comment! 818075


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Recent Stories

Modeling carbon budgets and acidification in the Mediterranean Sea ecosystem under contemporary and future climate

Modeling carbon budgets and acidification in the Mediterranean Sea ecosystem under contemporary and future climate Published 27 January 2022 Science

Back to school expenses putting more pressure on post-holiday budgets

Australian parents are set to spend 9 per cent more on back to school supplies this year than they did last year, with three...

Funding higher ed: Lawmakers weigh budgets for universities – Idaho Press-Tribune

Funding higher ed: Lawmakers weigh budgets for universities  Idaho Pre

Trends vs Summary & Budgets

Hi!Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge of the app can help me here.I’m...

Top 10 best hotels in Dublin city centre for all budgets (luxury, budget, family-stays, and more)

Heading to Dublin but not sure where to stay? We’ve checked out the ten best hotels in Dublin city centre for you — from...