State education officials are still waiting for guidance from the Baker Administration in planning for a reopening of the Commonwealth's schools this fall. Massachusetts school kids have been idle since February and March and at the moment there is no plan for what reopening the schools might look like in August and September.

The indecision raises serious issues for parents who need to plan their work lives once this foolish lockdown has been lifted. But that's only a part of the problem. Their kids have been out of the classroom, which means virtually no learning has occurred for months.

There are so many issues that need to be hammered out before a final plan for reopening schools can be implemented and the longer we wait to get at it, the more difficult it is going to be. Fear of a second wave will mean considerable changes will need to be made and those changes will require an agreement with labor unions, employees, parents, and local officials.

What will bussing look like? How about the cafeteria? Will class sizes have to be reduced? Will we need to consider extending the school day and even the school year? And what about the parents who will not be satisfied with any safety measures that are adopted who might opt not to send their kids back to school?

The challenges to reopening our schools are many, yet there is little being done to address them at this point. There is no time for delay. The public discussion about how to reopen our schools this fall has to begin now.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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