Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Will School Life Be No Recess, No P.E., and Staggered Lunch Breaks?

Schools around the world are evaluating what the 2020–2021 school year may look like. In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming school year could mean no recess, no physical education, no gathering in hallways, classes being dismissed at different times, and staggered lunch breaks. In short, school for K-12 students could look vastly different. It may be that on-site school will be conducted two or three days a week with the rest of learning being done at home. At school, desks will likely be spaced apart to discourage touching. Some classrooms may extend into unused gymnasiums, libraries or art rooms – which would be left vacant while schools put on hold activities that put a lot of children together.

Arrival and dismissal could occur on staggered schedules and through specific doors to promote physical distancing. Students might need to eat lunch at their desks. Those old enough to switch classrooms may be required to move with the same cohort every day – or teachers move around while students stay put – to discourage mingling with new groups. Teachers and other education staff at higher risk of contracting the Coronavirus may need to teach from home, while younger or healthier educators teach in-person. Everyone washes their hands (a lot), and frequently touched school surfaces get wiped down (a lot). Seating on buses will likely be spaced out, and temperature checks may occur daily.

All of these things are being discussed by school administrators worldwide. Some states, like Kentucky, are considering different scenarios:

Scheduled Rotations: Students would be assigned to groups and attend class on alternating times or days of the week. This would reduce class size and allow for greater social distancing. Meals would be served in the classrooms. When not at school, students would continue project based learning.

Synchronous Opt-In: In this scenario parents would choose whether children attend in person or via live streaming. Schools would have to ensure the same experience for all students.

Hybrid Model: Students would be sorted into groups and alternate time in the classroom and at home. This would also require live streaming.

Fully Online: The fourth scenario would be fully online and all students would receive instruction at home.

With the 2019–2020 school year coming to a close, it's only a matter of months before a new school year kicks off in America. Before then, school administrators have to develop a plan and get the proper resources into place. Whatever the plan, it will certainly be different than the one in place at the beginning of the school year in 2019.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso