The No-Win School Reopening: One Superintendent’s Dilemma

Tanwell Hobbs:

Schools superintendent Michael Hinojosa stepped on a land mine while laying plans to reopen his 153,000-student district amid the coronavirus pandemic. He wanted teachers instructing from classrooms, even if students were at home, to make sure they stayed focused.

“It is better for us if they come in,” Dr. Hinojosa said from his office at Dallas Independent School District headquarters late last month. “It is unprofessional if kids are yelling in the background, dogs barking and husbands walking back and forth.”

The teachers’ response was swift and clear: His approach would gamble with their lives as Covid-19 runs rampant in the area, citing an Arizona teacher’s recent death as an example.

After consulting a county leader, Dr. Hinojosa changed his stance. He would now allow teachers to apply to work from home if they had reliable internet and minimal distractions. He asked a staffer to write new language. “I don’t want to have a firestorm,” he said.