What’s Next? What Will The New School Year Look Like?
The beginning of a new school year used to be a pretty predictable ritual. Some parents would be sad to see their kids go, while for other parents, it was the most wonderful time of the year. There would be the usual back-to-school sales. Even places that didn’t sell school supplies or clothing would join in the fun. As a parent you would check out your kid(s) school, get to know their new teachers and work to get the kiddos back into the school routine. It was pretty much the same every year.
The type of school year experience you and your kids will encounter this year is anybody’s guess. It largely depends on the state you live in and your particular school district. For example as of this writing, Texas has plans for children to return to school in the fall as normal. New Mexico has a reopening plan that tries to minimize large social gatherings, requires masks and temperature checks. The University of Michigan’s reopening plan includes additional testing and contact tracing for a student body that’s larger than many cities.
What do you do as a parent in all this confusion? The first thing is to stay informed. Check with your school and your state department of education website. What are their reopening plans? What measures will they implement to mitigate the risk? How will they respond if an outbreak does occur? Will your school district have kids attending the school at the same time or will they be sent in shifts or on alternate days? Reach out to teachers and other parents. In addition, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the coronavirus and how it spreads. If you have concerns, don’t be afraid to voice them.
Secondly, if you do plan in sending your kids back to school, make sure they understand the importance of good hygiene, which includes washing their hands frequently, trying not to touch their face if possible and avoiding touching commonly shared objects like crayons or markers. If your school district requires students to wear face coverings, make sure your kids have an adequate supply and that their masks are properly cleaned.
Many school districts are also offering options for remote learnings. The earlier you can find out about these offerings, the better. They might not be for you, but at least you’ll know. What equipment will children need to participate? Will an old tablet do, or do you need to consider getting them something fancier? Are there special apps they’ll need to download and use? The world is moving in a virtual direction, so if you haven’t already, it may benefit both you and your children to become familiar with some of the virtual technologies out there.
The world is changing, and we need to change with it. The new school year is no exception. It will bring its share of new challenges as well as new adventures. If you’re properly prepared, you stand an excellent chance of passing with flying colors.