AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is committed to supporting superintendents and other school district leaders throughout the country during this challenging and unprecedented time. The following report presents a synthesis of the Guidelines for Reopening Schools recommended by superintendents throughout the United States as part of an ongoing AASA task force.
During meetings of the task force, participants shared their own leadership experiences and insights during the COVID-19 crisis and interacted with other superintendents to recommend responses to the following essential questions:
• What are current superintendents thinking about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on their school districts and communities?
• What are their plans so far for reopening?
• How can we bring consistency and alignment to formulate a set of recommendations to address the multiple issues associated with reopening?
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech has continually emphasized the need for a clear national plan considering the diverse approaches and conflicting messages evident in states and districts and the multiple contingencies that may arise in light of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, he and the other task force participants agree that this unprecedented era represents a startling new time in public education. It provides superintendents, staff, students and families the chance to revitalize education as a public institution and incorporate strategies and processes proven effective in making education for all learners equitable, experiential, engaging and authentic.
Perhaps the most striking outcome of the task force discussions is a universal commitment to
transforming the crisis we are facing into the opportunity to change public education as we know it. As Dan Domenech suggested at the conclusion of the May 13, 2020, task force meeting: This is the beginning of a powerful change in American education. We all agree that we cannot return to business as usual. This can be a watershed point in our history where we succeed in promoting equity and excellence for all learners.
This detailed AASA task force report includes recommendations for addressing the complex range of logistical and financial issues related to reopening. However, it goes beyond the traditional logistics of reopening schools and presents a comprehensive overview of the implications of reopening for transforming public education as we know it, including curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development implications for educational leaders to consider as we move into the 2020-21 academic year.
AASA will continue to update this report and related resources posted on the AASA website as changes and updates occur at federal, state and local levels. As part of that process, we invite superintendents and staff to share with us their success stories and updates on emerging issues confronting them in this process of reopening and transforming public education.

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