Republican governors are increasingly ordering schools to bring young children back into classrooms, their demands bolstered by declining coronavirus cases and calls from federal health experts and President Biden to reopen schools.
On Friday, the Massachusetts school board gave the state’s education commissioner the power to force school districts to bring students back, a dramatic step that allows the commissioner to override local school boards. Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona ordered all elementary schools, and many middle and high schools, to offer in-classroom instruction by March 15. A law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa went into effect last month that also requires schools to offer full-time classroom instruction.
As Mr. Biden has embarked on an aggressive effort to encourage in-person learning, governors have shown they’re increasingly willing to make unilateral decisions about reopening schools nearly a year after many schools first shut down.
“There is no substitute for in-person learning, especially for younger students, students with disabilities, and English learners,” Jeffrey C. Riley, the Massachusetts education…