Biden's vowing to reopen schools quickly. It won't be easy.

Teachers are uncertain about when they will be vaccinated and fearful of contagion. With alarming case counts across the country and new variants of the coronavirus emerging, unions are fighting efforts to return their members to crowded hallways. Their reluctance comes even as school administrators, mayors and some parents feel increased urgency to restore educational business-as-usual for the millions of students who are struggling academically and emotionally.

Given the seemingly intractable health and labor challenges, some district officials have begun to say out loud what was previously unthinkable: that schools may not be operating normally for the 2021-2022 school year. And some labor leaders are seeking to tamp down the expectations Mr. Biden’s words have raised…

Ms. Weingarten said a key to returning teachers to classrooms in the coming months would be promises to allow those with health conditions, or whose family members have compromised immune systems, to continue to work remotely; the collection of centralized data on the number of Covid-19 cases in specific schools; and assurances from districts that they would shut down schools when cases occur.