Providence Journal reporter Linda Borg grades herself critically for her coverage of the state takeover, pandemic shutdown, and schools reopening

Colleen Connolly and Alexander Russo:

School district takeovers. Lawsuits. Recalls. Sudden resignations. Providence Journal reporter Linda Borg has seen and done it all.

She’s been at the paper for 35 years, the last 15 of which she’s covered K-12 education.

But nothing could have prepared her for the pandemic, during which the vast majority of Democratic-controlled school districts closed in-person learning and — with the exception of Providence —kept them closed for prolonged periods.

“I think I focused more on the challenges rather than the pluses,” Borg told us about her pandemic coverage. “We wasted a lot of time on the latest school to close, how superintendents felt unsupported, and how Providence was screwing up online learning.”

We wasted a lot of time on the latest school to close, how superintendents felt unsupported, and how Providence was screwing up online learning.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What are the big education stories for your coverage area?

LB: Probably the biggest one is the takeover, which is now in its fourth year. Schools Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green has become kind of a punching bag for the Providence Teachers Union.

The other big issue has been COVID. We were one of the first states to really reopen, at least in a hybrid fashion.

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