Wednesday, April 08, 2020

When Are We Going Back To (bricks and mortar) School?

That’s the question my students asked the most yesterday. We’re in our fourth week of remote emergency teaching and I think it is starting to wear on most of us. It especially hard on the young people though. One thing I am more and more convinced of is that school is a great deal more than sitting in a classroom and doing school work. My students, consciously or not, are realizing the same thing.

Those casual interactions between classes are important to our students. Students interact with their peers and their teachers in ways that are often overlooked but which make up the total school experience.

Going to school online is not going to be a replacement for going to school in a physical place.

Dr. Fauci has been saying that he expects that schools will reopen in the fall. I didn’t hear any indication in his most recent remarks that suggest they will open again this spring. Summer camps are still at risk according to Dr. Fauci. I wonder what summer break is going to be like.

When we return in the fall, things are going to be different. I hope they will be better. Testing is getting better and the prospects for better medical treatment and even a vaccine are looking up. Most experts expect COVID-19 to be back in the fall again. We all hope not as bad but I think we’ll all be thinking about sick students differently than in the past.

Any teacher will tell you that students come to school sick. Some because there is no one to take care of them at home. Some because they don’t want to miss any more school. At my school we see a lot of the latter. One think I hope we learn about and prepare for is letting students stay home and attend classes remotely. We’re all learning about the tools we have now and perhaps the tools will get even better. If more students can stay home when sick and not miss as much of their education schools will become healthier places.

There are many other things that will happen in well-run schools to make them healthier places. Better cleaning and more attention to covering ones mouth when coughing just to name two.. We’re all becoming more sensitive to what spreads germs.

We’re really seeing how much more there is to school than most people ever realized. Perhaps it will lead to less penny pinching of education in the future. I can only hope.

1 comment:

Garth said...

We are done with the school building for the year. Looks like school will be over May 22nd, two weeks early. This decision is still up in the air but I think it is going to happen. This year does not worry me too much, it is what it is and considering the prep time to get things going for this year I think most teachers nailed it. Next year is the one I am worried about. I think the effect this two months has caused is going to carry over. Not quite sure in what way but I just do not think things are going to go back to being the same. We also have to be ready for another shutdown if the virus flares up again.