Perkins to host debate on the return to in-person schooling

The event is scheduled to take place on Aug. 17 starting at 6 p.m. (rain date Aug. 25).

Should we send our children back to school in September? This has been a controversial topic across the country in recent weeks. The Perkins Center for the Arts invites you to an outdoors, socially distanced debate facilitated by Braver Angels on the topic “For the sake of returning to normal, we should send our children back to school this fall.” The event is on Aug. 17 starting at 6 p.m. (rain date Aug. 25).

After months of lock-down and on-line dialogue, folks have an opportunity to gather in person to talk about one of the most difficult decisions for parents this year. The discussion, part of the Perkins Center’s “Conversations on Culture” series, will be held in the form of a Braver Angels Debate. Unlike college debate teams who are striving to score points and win, this is a different kind of debate in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another and allow themselves to be stirred and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth and more aware of the validity in opposing views. Sometimes the collective brainstorming helps new solutions emerge that bring tighter community relationships.

To ensure compliance with CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing, participants sit on the Perkins’s Evergreen Lawn spray-painted like a checkerboard (8 x 8-foot squares). With each person in the center of a square, everyone is safely distanced from their closest neighbor. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair (and picnic dinner), sit at least six feet apart and let’s find some common ground as we discuss the educational, health, welfare and economic reasons why we should or should not send our children back to school during the pandemic.

This is the second Braver Angels Debate that Perkins Center for the Arts has hosted. In July, participants spoke about the pros and cons of social media, and whether we’d have better social discourse if we got out from behind our screens more often. The goal is to bring Conversations on Culture to our community with the hope that the pandemic gets under control, and not etch checkerboards in the snow while meeting in the wintertime.

To sign up, register at Braver Angels is a nation-wide organization working to depolarize America and help people find ways to talk with (and learn from) people of differing opinions. 

For more information, visit or contact Moorestown resident Karen Reiner, New Jersey co-chair for Braver Angels. The Perkins Center for the Arts’ mission is to provide authentic arts experiences that enrich and inspire. Learn more at