As summer comes into full swing and most of the nation’s children are enjoying extra free time without classes, we continue to navigate our plans around the unprecedented reality of COVID-19. One of the questions that continues to swirl families’ minds is, “What will the return to school for 2020-2021 school year look like?” School organizers managed to hastily adapt at the end of this past school year when we were first introduced to the Coronavirus. Now school administrators will, fortunately, have had several months to try to prepare for similar conditions at the start of the upcoming year. Correspondingly, parents are anxiously determining what will be best for their individual students and their education.
Besides homeschooling, there are likely 3 options for students’ return to school: total remote, hybrid and/or staggered schedules, or full-sized in-person learning. Each pose their own advantages and drawbacks that need to be weighed carefully depending on the changing state of the virus and the unique situations that influence livelihoods of communities around the nation.
While total remote learning will best help limit the amount of contact between students and other individuals, parents also express concern about having sufficient access to technological resources, being able to inspire students’ learning engagement, and maintaining their job while students remain at home.
Hybrid learning and/or staggered schedules gives students the opportunity to experience some normalcy by attending school in the traditional school setting (especially for necessary in-person classes) while limiting the number of individuals they will encounter. This option, though, does pose a higher risk of contact than remote learning and will require more complex organization.
Full-sized in-person learning best offers a sense of normalcy for students and parents who can continue their traditional weekly schedules, but will also pose the highest risk for contact between individuals, potentially requiring strict precautions such as temperature checks, closing of shared spaces, and social distancing that may hinder the effectiveness of student learning.
- Prior forms of school transportation, like school buses, may no longer be the safest options for reducing exposure
- Teachers’ satisfaction with their working environment in order to effectively engage with students
- Confidently maintaining the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing
- Determining how well shared surfaces can be cleaned and sanitized
- Providing opportunity for students to be outside not only for their safety, but also for their health and exercise
- Assurance for low income and underrepresented families will receive the necessary help and equitable resources needed to keep their students’ actively learning
This list by no means covers everything that families and schools will need to consider, but it exemplifies the kinds of detailed factors that weigh on our informed decision-making. The CDC has also published detailed guidelines for schools to reopen.
So, what do we do?
During these uncertain times, one thing that is certain is that we will maintain our resilience toward providing our children the best and safest learning environment possible. What this looks like will differ between families, schools, and communities. As such, it is important that all options and ideas are considered and discussed.
CarpooltoSchool is committed to discussing what’s needed to safely and reliably get students to and from school for the 2020-21 school year. Want to add to the discussion? Great. Please take a moment well actually a few minutes to fill out one of the surveys below to let us know your thoughts.
It’s your turn to weigh in:
A you a parent or guardian? How is COVID-19 shaping your family’s decisions for the 2020-2021 school year? We’d love to hear from you. Please also share with other families:
Are you a school representative? What will the return to the 2020-2021 school year look like for you and your students? We’d love to hear from you. Please also share with your colleagues:
Are you a district representative? How is COVID-19 impacting the return to school for your district? What adaptations are you making? We’d love to hear from you. Please also share with your colleagues: