NC Can’t Place All Burdens On Our School Principals. But We Just Might Be Doing That In This Pandemic.

No two schools in the state are the same.

We have large schools and small schools. Many in between.

We have schools that are all housed in one building. Some in many buildings. Many in between.

We have old school buildings. Some have fairly new buildings. Many have a mix.

We have schools in the mountains, in the Piedmont, in the sandhills, and near the ocean.

We have elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. There are some schools that are Pre-K through 12. There are alternative-setting schools. Even some early colleges.

We have schools that draw students from high tax bases. We have schools that draw from high poverty areas.

Schools have different student bodies that serve communities with various socio-economic backgrounds.

No two schools are the same.

Now think of the number of LEAs / districts in the state.

Now think of the number of schools some of these districts have. A couple have well over 100 schools.

List of school districts in North Carolina - Wikipedia

Last week in my school system, a veteran teacher assistant died from COVID-19. The local health department and the local school system made clear in their statements that there was no evidence this dear lady contracted the virus while on the job. While the numbers are still low for educator deaths from COVID-19, in each tragedy, the local system and health department have not admitted that the person could have contracted the virus while on the job.

Having a dashboard of data does not excuse any school system from culpability. But what seems even more egregious is that from almost every teacher I have heard from these past three months the person most responsible for the safe return of students and teachers is the school principal.

Not the school boards that vote on what measures to take and when to send kids into buildings.

Not the superintendents or Central Office people.

The principals.

Now think of all of the schools in state and the different “categories” just mentioned above. Think of environmental factors out of our control.

Think of the different landscapes and terrains two schools that are only miles apart could have.

Think of the state of the ventilation systems from room to room, building to building, school to school.

Think of how many windows a school building has.

Think of the width of the hallways. All of them.

There are over 2500 public schools in North Carolina. And what this state has done is force each principal to enact a safety plan and carry it out based on metrics that seem to change as much as the weather in this state.

No two schools are the same.

There could be 2500 different safety plans.

And who is responsible?

Each local school board, each superintendent, and each lawmaker in Raleigh should make damn sure that every site-based principal has as much support and guidance as possible.

Without the total liability.

Or we may have more than just a teacher shortage next school year.