Home leadership What are your school’s decision triggers for closing back down again?

What are your school’s decision triggers for closing back down again?

What are your school’s decision triggers for closing back down again?

You’ve opened up school again and at least some students and teachers are attending in person. Unsurprisingly, some students, families, or educators begin to identify as positive for COVID-19. Now what?
How many kids have to get sick before you shut down again? What are your decision-making criteria? [practice saying these out loud and see how they sit with you]

Well, if 1 kid gets sick, that’s sad but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 10 kids get sick, that’s terrible but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 100 kids get sick, that’s a tragedy but we’ll stay open…
If 50 kids at that one school get sick, we will shut that school down but the rest of the district will stay open…
Until 20% of our students are sick, we’ll stay open…

How many educators have to get sick before you shut down again? What are your decision-making criteria? [practice saying these out loud and see how they sit with you]

Well, if 1 educator gets sick, that’s sad but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 10 educators get sick, that’s terrible but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 100 educators get sick, that’s a tragedy but we’ll stay open…
If 20 teachers at that one school get sick, we will shut that school down but the rest of the district will stay open…
Until 30% of our educators are sick, we stay open…
Until we can’t get enough substitutes to adequately cover classrooms, we stay open…

How many kids or educators have to die before you shut down again? What are your decision-making criteria? [practice saying these out loud and see how they sit with you]

Well, if 1 kid dies, that’s sad but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 10 kids die, that’s a tragedy but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 3 teachers die, that’s terrible but we’ll stay open…
Well, if 20 teachers die, that’s a tragedy but we’ll stay open…
Until 10% of our staff are dying, we’ll stay open…

Some schools are tracking their state or local health department data for guidance, but community spread is an imperfect match for school system spread. Accordingly, school systems should be prepared to make the kinds of decisions noted above, which means that school leaders are going to need to be very clear with their educators, families, and communities about what their ‘decision triggers’ are. 
Decision triggers are critical thresholds that trigger action if crossed. If school systems don’t identify and articulate their decision triggers beforehand for when schools will need to reclose again, then they will be hammered by educators, families, and community members who have their own decision triggers and will be angry that you’re not following theirs.

What do you mean 10 infected children are acceptable? Don’t you know those children may infect their siblings and vulnerable family members?
What do you mean you’re okay with 5 teachers dying? How heartless are you?
What do you mean that you’re waiting for state or local guidance? In the meantime, kids and educators are getting sick and some are probably going to die!

What are your school’s decision triggers for closing back down again? Have you made those public to your educators and community?

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