Kansas education leader: Schools must find better way to educate students during pandemic
TOPEKA — Kansas state education commissioner Randy Watson said schools will need to rethink the way they deliver education amid the coronavirus pandemic because what is happening now is “not sustainable.”
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Watson told members of the Kansas Association of School Boards on Friday that one of the best solutions is to return students for five-day-a-week learning, while keeping class sizes to fewer than 15 students while requiring masks and social distancing.
Watson said schools may need to partner with other organizations in the community, such as churches or businesses that are closed anyway because of the pandemic, to get enough room to space out students.
Watson also suggested that schools look internally for backup and use nonteaching school staff — like librarians, paraeducators, substitute teachers, central office staff and reading specialists — to fill the ranks.
“Everyone is going to have to be a teacher again,” he said. “Almost everyone. We’re going to have to do that in order to have enough people to pull this off.”
He said his staff also plans to ask the Kansas Board of Education to make it easier for people to become substitute teachers.
“I’ve been in about 45 school districts since the start of school, and I will tell you, what we’re doing is not sustainable,” Watson said. “Teachers can’t do it.”