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Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press, looked at the difficulties on the ground in deciding whether or not to reopen schools – described as an “impossible decision” by a school board member.He reports that the Rock Hill board of directors in suburban South Carolina looks like thousands of school boards across the country, where members ask themselves a simple question: “Are we going back to school?” in the middle of a pandemic? ” with no correct or even correct answers, in the face of inconsistent testing and an almost constant increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Behind this question lies the pressure. Pressure from teachers, bus drivers and janitors, afraid to return to work but in need of a paycheck. Pressure from parents and guardians, who have to return to work but fear for the safety of their children. Pressure from a president who declares on Twitter “OPEN SCHOOLS !!!” but whose administration provides little tangible guidance to achieve it.

They chose to reopen by dividing the students into two groups who would each spend two days a week in the classrooms, with virtual learning on the other school days.

Helena Miller, one of the trustees, says she has spent countless nights with her eyes wide open, her mind fighting for the safety and education of the children she has sworn to protect.

And everyone has an opinion. The district has more than 17,000 students, which means about 17,000 proposals on how to return to school, one of the administrators told Collins, half-jokingly.

South Carolina has some of the worst virus numbers in the country, and state leaders can’t agree on what to do about schools. Republican Governor Henry McMaster contradicted his own director of education and said schools should allow a five-day-a-week option for working parents. School boards had to unravel the mess – Rock Hill called an emergency meeting and ultimately stuck to their phased plan.

There was no shouting, no false science claim, no accusation that administrators don’t care about children. In an age when such arguments are popping up everywhere, from talk shows to Facebook, from the White House to the convenience store, this advice prides itself on civil discourse. School boards represent democracy within its local core.

“We want the best for our children,” said trustee Windy Cole, who has had her own tears and sleepless nights. “I attended all the meetings, listened to everything I could, and I have no doubts that our district is doing its best under these horrible circumstances. We just have to keep praying, ”

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