How are Schools Preparing to Reopen for Fall 2020?
Many people believe that the summer is just an extended vacation for teachers, but that has never been the case. This year is certainly no different. Normally, teachers use the summer to get caught up. They complete professional development, expand resources for their classrooms, and plan for the beginning of the next school year. This year, however, they have to prepare for the school reopen of 2020.
Teachers are still dedicating their time to all of these tasks. However, this year the pandemic has also caused much uncertainty for how education will continue moving forward. Will we go back to the classroom? Will schools continue with their remote learning model? Do parents have a choice of whether or not their child goes back to school in person or online? What are the optimal ways to keep students, families, and teachers/staff safe? All of these questions have not yet been answered. Rest assured teachers and administrations are over-preparing for many different possibilities.
Multiple Plans for School Reopen 2020
School districts are currently planning for three different options for how to resume learning in when schools reopen:
- In-person learning
- Online and distance learning
- A hybrid model which combines the two
If schools are to resume in-person learning, this will be the most high-risk scenario. All students will be invited to return to school, the CDC guidelines will be implemented, and social distancing and other health requirements will be enforced.
If schools resume online learning, there’s a much lower risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Schools will utilize their distance learning plans from the spring with added rigor. Continued efforts will be made to reach students who need the most support in a distance learning scenario. In this case, schools will open only for emergency child care or other functions, such as to administer computers or meals to families in need.
Lastly, schools have been asked to plan for a hybrid model. This model combines both in-person and online learning. When students are in school, the building will be at 50% or fewer capacity. CDC guidelines will be enforced, with social distancing monitored closely. For those not at the building that day, there will be a delivery or contact-less pickup of school materials and meals, and those students will receive online instruction.
After learning more about all three of these plans, it’s clear that the needs of every family and student cannot be met no matter which one is finalized. There are drawbacks even to the lowest-risk options that may leave parents choosing from among several less-than-ideal options. Remember that we’re experiencing this together, and you’re not alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed by how to plan for school this fall.
To stay ahead of the game this summer, keep your child engaged in academics at home, and find ways to connect with them to fulfill their social and emotional needs. If you can do so safely, find ways for them to interact with their peers if possible. To find out whether schools are reopening in person, online, or using the hybrid option, check out this state-by-state list. Info continues to be added as updates are being made. In the meantime, enjoy the remaining months of the summer as best as you can—stay informed, remain vigilant, and remember to rest and reset when needed.