Potential school reopening in the fall


By Leighton McCamy-Miller

Life at The Branson School would not be able to return to “normal” as we knew it until certain conditions are met.
As the school year draws to a close, students and teachers are anxious to know what it would look like to return to school in the fall and move away from distance learning, which began March 18.
Those conditions, Head of School Chris Mazzola said, are listed as: “The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed. The ability to prevent infection for people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19. The ability of hospitals and health services to handle surges. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet demand. The ability for businesses, schools and child-care facilities to support physical distancing; and the ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders if necessary.”
Just when exactly these conditions can be met will be very much dependent on the sustainability of public health systems, the actions taken by local, state and federal governments, and the global events to come this summer.
Since Branson is a private school and is not under the purview of the Superintendent’s Office, the plan for how school will continue once it reopens is more up to its discretion, but the conditions set by Mazzola and the Board of Trustees for reopening are in line with the county’s stance.
When asked about the reopening of schools during a virtual interview posted by the Marin County Youth Commission, Mary Jane Burke, the Marin County Superintendent of Schools, said, “If the mindset is that the definition of “reopening schools” is to open them like they were operating at the start of March, that’s not going to happen for a long time, probably at least a year … our school districts are working hard right now to figure out what are the conditions necessary in order to reopen schools.”
Branson administrators are discussing different ideas about the day-to-day logistics for the fall semester, but no finite decision has been made.