Early Reflections on Back to School Plans [OPINION]
With schools frantically working to develop and implement back to school plans, one thing seems evident, whatever plan is introduced is not going to satisfy everyone and has the potential to split communities even more.
With that being said, let me offer the following thoughts
- Schools have been working hard throughout the summer. Normally a time to recharge, teachers/administrators/school boards have been meeting regularly. Remote learning was quickly put together in March, with as little as a week's notice. Remote learning in the Fall will look markedly different in that students will have defined expectations and curriculum
- I believe that there is an honest difference of opinion with some believing COVID-19 is dangerous, and some believing that it is no worse than the flu. No matter what side you are on, one thing we all have to agree with is the premise that everyone is looking out for the health and safety of the students and staff
- Teachers have a right to be concerned with a return to in person learning. The most compelling argument I have heard that puts a face to their concern is this "Why are school boards meeting virtually but you expect us (teachers) to return to the classroom?"
- Masks will need to be worn at school. You may not agree with it, but in every scenario for back to school learning masks are mandatory. The best thing parents can do is to start having their children wear a mask NOW. Teach them at home proper mask etiquette, and rules. Get them used to wearing a mask. Build up the time they're in it. Mask breaks will be given at school, but the more you can do to prepare your child for spending time in the mask, the better it will be for him/her and the teacher!
- Every fear or concern that you, your child or your child's teacher has is valid. The best thing to do is to politely express your concerns to the building principal, school teacher, or school committee
- Don't vilify the teacher or school. Remember everyone cares for the students. Teachers don't go into this profession unless they love kids.
- If you have an idea, offer it up! No idea is a bad one, and you may have thought of something that no one else has, or it may be a idea that someone can build off of and improve!
- Be patient. Most people like stability and to know what the week/month is going to look like. These plans are works in progress and what the plan looks like right now, or in 2 weeks, will look remarkably different, I believe than what is actually happening in say, November
- Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! As a parent if you express your frustration in front of your child, they will see it and feel it and emulate it.
- Do your part at home and in the community. Practice safe social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands. We all want everyone to stay safe so we can eventually return to normal, whatever that looks like.