September 10th, 2021

Educator Voice: Educators and health experts discuss back to school

CoronavirusEducationEducator Voice
Emergency room doctor Comilla Sasson during EXTRA’s Zoom on COVID and returning to schools


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On Thursday, Sept. 2, guests Dr. Comilla Sasson, emergency room doctor and, and Prof. Daniel Katz, chair of educational studies at Seton Hall University, joined host Sari Beth Rosenberg, a high school history teacher, and educators from across the country for EXTRA’s first COVID check-in of the year. EXTRA has been hosting monthly conversations about COVID and school since July 2020.

The two experts and educators discussed this year’s reopening, plans to prevent COVID among teachers and staff and the often confusing messaging between public health authorities and the public.

As with all NewsHour EXTRA Zoom sessions, the educator audience played an active role throughout the conversation. The discussion was not recorded to respect the privacy of participants, but Rosenberg and our guests discussed takeaways after, which can be viewed below.


Dr. Comilla Sasson on the “chaos” and “anxiety” described by educators as students return to full, in-person learning during the Delta wave

“I think we’re going to learn the hard way, which is often what happens when we look back 10 years later and say, ‘Gosh, we should have known better.'”


Dr. Daniel Katz on how to make in-person school work this year

“We have to disentangle our efforts to have school function during a pandemic from partisan politics.'”


Sari Beth Rosenberg on whose voices need to be heard during return to school.

“We still aren’t doing enough to listen to the teachers, listen to the parents, listen to the students and maybe hear some things we don’t want to hear.'”


Guests on listening and building trust

“Why did so many people stay home? It’s because we have not done nearly enough to gain the trust of families who know … they are the last people to be listened to, and their schools are the last ones to get the improvements and the last ones to be cared about by the system.” — Dr. Katz

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