Can schools safely reopen? Balancing staff and student safety against the need for children to return to school has been daunting and controversial around Vermont and the country. “The kids are not alright,” asserts Dr. Rebecca Bell, a critical care pediatrician and president of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Don Tinney, president of Vermont-NEA and a 31-year veteran high school English teacher, warns of “reopening chaos” and schools forced to close due to staff shortages. The educator and physician discuss the challenge of how and whether schools should reopen. (August 12, 2020 broadcast)
Should children return to school? Will this result in the spread of COVID-19? And if a vaccine against COVID 19 is developed, will people get vaccinated? Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. William Raszka argues that depression is becoming a major concern in children’s health. He makes the case for why children should attend school, and how to do it safely. He is co-author of a commentary in the journal Pediatrics about COVID transmission in children. (July 22, 2020 broadcast)
Dr. William Raszka, Professor of Pediatrics, Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools and students to transform overnight. Classes have gone from in person to online, meals are being served not in school buses instead of cafeterias, and teachers are conjuring new ways to maintain bonds between their distant students. We look at the challenges confronting the Harwood Union Unified School District in Vermont. We talk to teachers, students, food service workers, and administrators to hear how they are adapting to the new normal. And we hear how one 3rd grade teacher inspires hope and humor among her students everyday. (April 1, 2020 broadcast)
Tom Drake, principal, Warren Elementary School
Jonah Ibson, teacher, Harwood Union High School
Aliza Jernigan, 11th grade student, Harwood Union High School
Brigid Nease, superintendent, Harwood Union Unified School District
Katie Sullivan, grade 3/4 teacher, Warren Elementary School
Paul Morris, food services co-director, Harwood Union Unified School District
Education funding:Does Vermont have an education funding crisis? We discuss this issue, school consolidation, and the effectiveness of the Act 60 education funding reform law with:
William J. Mathis,managing director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and the former superintendent of schools for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union in Brandon, Vermont. He was a National Superintendent of the Year finalist and a Vermont Superintendent of the Year. He currently serves on the Vermont State Board of Education and chairs the legislative committee.
Suicide: Why does Vermont have a higher suicide rate than the national average? What are the warning signs, and what prevention resources exist?