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The Same But Different

One of my favourite parts of the AASA National Conference on Education as a Canadian in a room where more than 90% of the participants are Americans is seeing how we are simultaneously having very similar experiences yet also have such dramatic differences.

I am in the very interesting session with three educational reporters from New York Times, Washington Post and Educational Week. They are talking about the stories around school reopening stories. What is so interesting is that the stories that have dominated the year for so many places in the United States has been around the opening of schools. In Canada we have almost completely had our schools open all year. We have never really closed. Even last spring, there were still partial openings of schools. So while the American stories have been around should schools open during COVID, the Canadian stories have been around should schools close during COVID. So interesting to see a similar set of facts lead to different decisions around school openings from the start, and then leading to different stories throughout the year. While American superintendents are challenged by if and when schools should open in many places, the Canadian school system has faced the opposite challenge as COVID numbers have moved up at different times this year and should Canadian schools pivot to more remote or online learning.

Listening to the stories – I am struck by how much more challenging the debate is for many of you – is is far easier to close schools than to open them. We are lucky in my jurisdiction we never did fully close.