Schools are planning for the possibility of distance learning in the fall

Schools are planning for the possibility of distance learning in the fall

Parents of home-learning school children shouldn’t necessarily be counting on taking back a dining room table anytime soon.

After seeing two academic years canceled by the pandemic, school leaders across the country are planning the possibility of more distance learning next fall at the start of another school year.

“We have no illusions that COVID will be eliminated by the time the school year starts,” said William “Chip” Sudderth 3, a spokesman for Durham, North Carolina schools, whose students have been out of school buildings since March.

President Joe Biden has reopened schools A top priority, but officials say there is a lot to take into account as new strains of the coronavirus emerge and teachers await their turn to get vaccines.

While many parents are calling for schools to reopen completely, others say they will not feel safe sending children to classrooms until vaccinations are available even for young students. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s chief public health expert, said late last month that the Biden administration hoped to start vaccination. Babies by late spring or early summer.

By then, the regions will be deep in preparations for the upcoming school year.

“As far as between 2021 and 2222, it is likely that at least part of that school year will be related to the response to the pandemic assuming that children will not get the vaccine, or at least not many of them will get the vaccine.” Supervisor Brian Woods, of Northside Independent School It is among the largest in Texas.

That may mean a more teacher-friendly version of the mix of personal and distance learning that’s happening now, one that doesn’t require teachers to direct two groups at once. This could be achieved either by dividing the hiring or rearranging the schedules, he said, adding that adding a longer term might see an option that is quite remote for students who have permanently moved out of the traditional school.

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“There will be an element of the genie that cannot be put back in the bottle,” said Woods. “I think now there will always be a group of families who want a default option … we know we can do that, but are we willing to do it?”

Faced with the same reality, the West Contra Costa Unified School District of California plans to create a new virtual academy from kindergarten to 12th grade for the year 2021-22.

“One of the things we learned during the pandemic is that teaching and learning are different now, and it will not be quite the same as we used to think it is ‘normal’ again, as the January agenda item read before the Board of Education.

The axis to distance learning has proven the recent march to be a lifeline for the education system, but concerns are growing with each passing month about the impacts on racial inequalityStudent academic performanceAttendance and their overall well-being.

In Durham, North Carolina, schools – which have become completely remote since March – announced last month that they would remain that way until the end of the current school year.

Moreover, Sudarth said, “The spread of the disease will determine what we can do.”

The guideline for whether a district with 32,000 students can transition from distance to blended learning in January was to test a positive rate of less than 4%. But it is unclear whether this scale or others set so far by states or provinces will continue.

Biden, in an early executive order, instructed his Secretary of Education to provide “evidence-based guidance” and advice to schools to safely conduct personalized learning.

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“I hope we don’t have to hybrid work, but I don’t want to be in a situation we haven’t fully thought about,” said Eva Moskowitz, which includes the 47 An-Najah Academy schools, which enroll 20,000 students. In New York City.

Successful students have been logging in to whole days of direct, remote education on the school’s laptops and tablets since the start of the school year, a stressful pledge Moskowitz plans to end the current school year on May 28. School 2021-22 The year will then start on August 2, possibly in mixed format.

“Frankly, I don’t know what the chances are,” she said, to continue distance learning in the next academic year.

“Logic tells me that we shouldn’t, but my knowledge of the government makes me a little more hesitant,” she said, referring to the sometimes conflicting directives from the city and state and the slow start of launching vaccines.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged that schools in the nation’s largest school district “will return in full force in September”.

He said, “Everyone wants to return.”

But the head of the powerful teachers’ union, Michael Mulgrew, says it’s too early to commit. Schools currently offer some personal classes for elementary and pre-kindergarten students who wish to have them. A plan de Blasio announced on Monday would reopen middle school buildings February 25 but no plan yet for high school.

“It’s my goal, but I can’t say that they will open,” the president of the United Teachers’ Union said in an interview. He thinks about the mayor’s pledge: “It’s not about what you want. It’s about what you can do safely.”

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Counselor Richard Carranza acknowledged that while the target is the personal school, distance learning “will stay with us” after the pandemic.

“We are looking at this as one of the ingredients,” he said during a news conference on Monday with de Blasio.

It will take more than teacher vaccinations to fully and safely open schools, Mulgrew said.

He pointed out that scientists are not yet clear about whether the vaccinated people are still able to spread the virus, even if they do not contract the disease. He wonders how families will feel comfortable having unvaccinated babies and young teens who start the new year unvaccinated.

“This is where things get tough. So how do you say you’ll open in September when we need to answer these questions?” He asked.

The Evanston, Illinois Parents’ Alliance asked Superintendent Eric Witherspoon what assurances it could provide that Evanston Township High School will provide personalized learning in the 2021-22 school year.

“We are witnessing a real crisis in our society,” said Laurel O’Sullivan, the mother of a student at Evanston High School, over the phone. “We are a coalition of mental health and medical experts who, in their practices in society, see every day children experiencing a tremendous surge in mental and emotional health crises. … It is a social, emotional and academic crisis that we see.”

The region did not respond to a request for comment.


Thomson Report from Buffalo, New York. Author Jennifer Peltz of The Associated Press in New York City contributed to this report.

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