Details are starting to emerge about how schools will re-open next week. We seem to be flying by the seat of our pants on this one. I suppose it’s understandable as the COVID numbers were dropping quite nicely at least at the first of August. Now, though, with what is being tagged as the “fourth wave”, we’re seeing numbers rise just as final plans are being made for the return to school.
Most of what I’m reading about the elementary school panel kind of makes sense. I’m still concerned that smaller class sizes aren’t part of the solution. I hope for a warm and dry September so that at least classes can be held outside. Like most people, I thought that the air cleansing plan was already a done deal. The news is that the installation of units is still ongoing.
It’s the plans for some of the secondary schools that has me scratching my head. We recognize that something has to be done to accommodate these strange days. Last go round, the concept of the compressed semester was attempted. There was a variety of successes. The big concern, I know, will be the long delay between a course and its followup course. The loss of continuity is a definite concern.
So, we appear to be launching a new approach in some districts this fall.
Instead of taking two courses at a time, students will be back taking four courses over a semester. They’ll still have the long classes (two a day) but will be shuttled between a two week on, two week off routine.
On the second Friday, there will be a two week gap in subject continuity while the other two courses take over. That’s a lot of time for learning or understanding loss to happen. I had to smile when I think back to the challenges of a three day weekend. Knowing that a break was coming, those last classes before the break could be a challenge. And, the Grinch would be the teacher who assigned homework. Guilty.
Then, into the mix, some districts will be trying to implement a hybrid solution where some students will be in the classroom and some will be watching remotely via webcam and microphone. Needless to say, none of this stuff was covered at teachers’ college.
Do I have a magic answer that will make it all work? Not really. There were a few districts that tried this two week on, two week off approach last year and there were no glowing reports of success. I’m not sure that there will be any difference this year.
If there’s one element to this build it as you teach it classroom, it’s the ability for educators to share challenges and successes via social media. This could perhaps turn into one of the biggest successes for those who have elected to get online and get connected. I hope that everyone is up for sharing the moments that make for success.
Everyone is going to need it.