Will your child be returning to school this fall?
Will your child be returning to school this fall?
Here’s what you need to know.
Will schools open this fall?
This is a question most parents have asked all spring: Will the school open this fall? School experience – like work – has been disrupted due to COVID-19. Millions of children have swapped their classrooms and playgrounds for homeschooling and distance learning. How long will this new normal last? Colleges and universities are in a similar situation. Although colleges and universities still operate remotely, they must also struggling with the reopening of their campuses this fall or wait until 2021 (or later). Public leaders will need to decide how and when to open schools safely. The decision will likely be based on health and science and may differ by geography depending on local circumstances and needs. Many governors, mayors, educators, and other leaders are developing comprehensive plans focused on health, virus testing, safety, learning, social interactions, online or in-person education, and impact on children and teachers. They will also need to consider the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus potentially this fall or winter.
Is it too early to reopen the schools?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guiding principles to protect children, teachers, administrators and staff from the spread of COVID-19. These principles are not laws. Rather, it is advice from leading medical professionals on best practices and health and safety considerations that should be evaluated before opening a K-12 school. Each state and city will likely decide whether or not to open a school district or school based on their assessment of local needs and the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
What will school look like after COVID-19?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough or sneeze. To limit the spread of COVID-19, your child’s school may be very different from what it was before the pandemic. Whether your child’s school opens this year or next year, your child’s school may look like this:
Distance learning (Option 1)
- Students and teachers interact through distance learning. Students have virtual activities and events. This is considered the the lowest risk and the safest.
Staggered schedules (Option 2)
- Students would attend school at different times, with smaller classes, activities and in-person events. Think about a staggered schedule.
- Social distancing would be enforced, with students being at least six feet apart and no sharing of items like school supplies, books or toys. The students would stay in a classroom. This option has Following risk.
Distance and virtual learning (Option 3)
- Students and teachers could interact both through in-person lessons, activities and events as well as distance learning. This option also has Following risk.
Full in-person lessons (Option 4)
- Students and teachers interact through in-person lessons, activities and events.
- Students do not practice social distancing and share supplies and equipment. This is considered the upper risk.
Other guidelines: Schools reopening
The CDC also recommends other guidelines for reopening schools:
More prize for the best participation
Schools may not give your child a prize for best attendance. Students and teachers will be encouraged to stay home if they are showing symptoms of coronavirus or have been exposed to someone who may have the virus.
Big focus on hygiene
Hand wash for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Hand sanitizer. Intensive cleaning and sanitation of classrooms and school buildings. This could be the new normal.
Wear a mask
Many parents wonder: will my child have to wear a mask? The CDC recommends that face coverings be worn “where possible” by staff and students, especially older students and when social distancing is not possible). However, the CDC says children under 2 should not wear masks.
Classrooms can look different. The CDC recommends that students sit six feet apart and that desks all face in the same direction. If the classroom only has tables, the CDC says students should all sit on one side of the table with appropriate spacing between each student.
No playgrounds or cafeterias
The CDC says playgrounds and cafeterias should be closed, if possible.
The future of work
If public leaders don’t open schools this fall, many companies could follow their lead and not open their offices. Some companies will have their employees work from home for the rest of the year. Others will leave most employees work from home permanently. If children pursue distance learning, most parents may need to work from home to care for their children. Companies will have to go through a thoughtful analytical process to determine who should return to an office. It is also possible, if remote working has been productive in your company, that you do not go back to an office at all. Google tech companies