The coronavirus has cast a shadow of uncertainty over education in the U.S., resulting in confusion for educators and parents. The pandemic came about late in the last school year, which made the decision to distance learn for those few remaining months fairly instinctive. In contrast, there is so much more to consider now when making decisions for the upcoming school year. How will the roles of administrators, paraprofessionals, teachers and parents change for the upcoming school year?
Under normal circumstances, administrators would now be deciding how to implement the strategy and budget created in the spring. Instead, they are looking to make the many decisions needed to develop a new strategy and realign resources to reopen schools for the new school year without having adequate information to do so.
Although recommendations are being made at the state level, reopening is a local decision based on local context. Many states are trying to create safety plans for learning through in-person instruction to the extent that is possible, and move to distance learning only when necessary. Parents may feel out of the loop because they are not a part of the process and may feel disconnected due to lack of communication.
Many districts have three possible scenarios for the upcoming school year, and each one comes with its own set of questions and challenges.
Each of these options has its challenges, but parents may find that solely distance learning presents the most challenges, especially for parents of younger children. These parents and students will need lots of support navigating and adapting to online learning.
Helping Parents Navigate the “New Normal”
Over the last few months, you may have been overwhelmed with distance learning, which brought a variety of virtual platforms, the need to access different websites for each of your child’s subjects, more responsibilities in keeping track of your child’s work and maintaining some semblance of organization. All this while still having career related duties, household duties and so many other things to take care of. And right now, you may not even be sure what the upcoming school year will look like. Will your child go back to a traditional classroom, continue to distance learn, or a combination of traditional and distance learning? You may be thinking, “If the option I choose does not work for our family, can we change in the middle of the school year?”
Once the decision is made about how your child will learn in the upcoming school year, you may find challenges that have not been present before. Some may be related to health concerns, others may be related to the content your child is learning in school. You will need to be in constant communication with teachers more so than ever before.
You may decide that distance learning is the safest option, but it may present the greatest challenge, especially if you have minor children and must balance job related duties and childcare.
You may have some anxieties that your child will not learn the content at the required level or as in depth as he or she should, or that you are now responsible for making sure assignments are done and turned in. You may have had some experience with this during the spring school closures, but here are some guidelines you may want to follow.
Stay tuned for my next article on how Buzzmath can help parents during these times!
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