When will school buildings reopen? And when they do reopen, what will the school day look like? Those are the questions being asked lately by parents, educators, and politicians alike. But the answers? Well, they’re still a bit all over the place.
The only thing for certain: school is going to look — and feel — really different once the doors reopen again. Pretty much everyone can agree that social distancing, in some form, will most likely still be in effect. But how will that even work in the U.S., where so many schools are overcrowded with easily 25-30 kids in a single classroom?
That’s the first hurtle, according to USA Today: We need to figure out how to have less kids in the classroom at one time.
One idea that’s being tossed around is having kids come into the classroom only a couple days a week (or only two weeks at a time) and then staggering schedules. That includes staggering arrival and dismissal, as well as recess and lunch. It also means students would be with the same small group of kids each day.
Less students and faculty in the building at one time is one way to maintain social distancing. And if classrooms aren’t overcrowded anymore, then the CDC’s recommendation might actually work. The CDC is recommending that kids sit at desks six feet apart.
What about the days kids aren’t in the school building? Then eLearning can continue from home. But that eLearning also needs some improvements, especially for schools where kids don’t have access to computers or a reliable Internet connection.
And there is one of the biggest issues in figuring out how to reopen schools around the U.S.: funding. That, paired with the fact that each state — heck, each county — has it’s own unique schooling challenges.
As much as schools want guidance, it’s looking like each district may have to make its own decision in how to best bring school buildings back into session.
What Other Countries are Doing To Reopen Schools
As we attempt to figure out the best way forward for the U.S. educational system, many are looking to how things are being done in other countries. They’re not just spacing out desks and staggering schedules either. In Scotland, they plan to have more emphasis on outdoor education. In Denmark and Israel, they’re having only the lower grades return to school, while older students continue online learning. Estonia decided to bring back students who have additional needs, including disabilities.
What school will look like in the U.S. still remains to be seen, but chances are we’re looking at some sort of staggered schedule. There may also be multiple solutions, based on the school, district, and children’s needs.
What do you think school buildings will look like when class is back in session?
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