Summer school is an ideal time to test drive potential safe practices for re-opening schools following coronavirus closings, proposes American Federation of teachers president Randi Weingarten in The Washington Post.

Planning for the future requires an evaluation of the present, Weingarten argues, including the reality that rural and lower income families often lack robust internet access, and that students for whom English is not a first language as well as those with disabilities, and those facing secure access to housing or food have been at unique disadvantages over the past several months.

Summer schooling is a potential way to address these disadvantages and to build a bridge between the present moment and the future full-time opening of schools: “Studies…show that students who participate in high-quality, voluntary, multi-week summer learning programs make significant gains in reading and math, as well as experiencing social and emotional benefits,” says Weingarten.

Nonetheless, she notes, both summer programming and any hope for future full-time openings will require an investment of resources, including funds, staffing, and family participation.

Read more about Randi Weingarten’s proposal for summer programming and the requirements which need to be met in order to safely open schools here.