Friday, June 12, 2020

Will we return to school in the fall?

I admit I am a bit nervous about returning to school in the fall. I am also nervous about branching out beyond the safety of my home as the world around me opens up. I've read a lot about this, and plan to face this with care and safety.

What will I do?

Essentially, as a recent Boston Globe article suggested, it is a case of risk management, and when possible, lowering your risk of infection.

Keep it clean!
Extra attention to cleanliness. Washing and sanitizing hands, table tops, materials regularly. Teach students about good hygiene with regard to tissues, hand washing, sharing items, and more.

A Good Routine
Establish routines that lead to greater cleanliness and little or less spread. Keep a simple, daily routine that leads to clean, safe behaviors. Keep it lean and clean.

Communicate online versus face-to-face whenever possible
Continuing to meet with colleagues online rather than in real time as much as possible seems like a good way to reduce risk. That means online parent conferences, staff meetings, PLCs, and student service meetings.

Find the silver linings
I will continue to look for silver linings--what advantages do these limitations create? Some advantages that I notice so far include the following:

  • Learning outdoors in nature is positive. (Of course, last fall we faced mosquito-related threats so that may be an issue)
  • Deeper learning and coaching are possible with reduced numbers of students online. Without the distractions of close proximity and social situations, students have the potential to be more focused on deeper learning tasks and efforts. 
  • Learning how to use online "intelligent assistants" to assist your passion-driven, interest-based learning helps students to be super lifelong learners. 
  • Curating, sharing, and using the best resources--there are amazing resources out there, but often, due to time-on-task constraints, we don't have the time to discover those resources. Teaching remotely gives us more time for that kind of work. I've discovered many, many awesome resources in the past few months--resources that have invigorated the curriculum in meaningful ways. 
Time will tell what happens, but it is in everyone's best interests to stay positive, do what you can, and keep principles and actions of risk management at the center of what you do.