Schools may reopen their doors in the fall when the country comes out the other side of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but remote learning could reportedly be part of the “new normal.”
According to some projections and blueprints for reopening economies and school districts, remote learning should continue while schools are doing staggered schedules, so that all students can keep up with their peers. Models also foresee further waves of the virus leading to future school shutdowns, another reason to keep remote learning plans in place.
Plans from some school districts paint a picture of parallel learning, both remotely and in-person.
This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the region will be working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reimagine schools, crafting new AI and “personalized learning,” for children. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has also been brought in to help craft the “new normal” throughout the region.
According to a New York Times report, “many students also said there were aspects of remote learning they enjoyed, such as getting to work at their own pace, setting their own schedule, and being free from “the stressful environment of school.”
Before schools reopen, officials have said that they have to ensure that schools are a safe haven for students, and that the virus is no longer a threat to be rapidly spread amongst children.
In Washington state and in Chicago, leaders have acknowledged that some form of remote learning might continue off and on through the 2020-2021 school year or even beyond.
The American Federation of Teachers recently released a road map for the safest, and most effective way to reopen schools.
Before schools reopen, they will have to ensure that students and staff can maintain physical distancing, and there will have to be a declining number of COVID-19 cases for at least two weeks. There must also be protocols in place to test, trace, and isolate new cases.
“Each workplace and community faces unique challenges related to COVID-19. To ensure that reopening plans address those challenges, broad worker and community involvement is necessary. They must be engaged, educated, and empowered,” the organization said.
“Do not abandon America’s communities or forfeit America’s future. These interventions will require more—not less—investment in public health and in our schools, universities, hospitals, and local and state governments.”
The American Federation of Teachers said that their blueprint acknowledges Americans’ eagerness to return to some semblance of “normal.”
“But to do so, we must meet an unprecedented challenge: figuring out how to reimagine our society and the physical places we hold dear—public schools, places of worship, workplaces, restaurants and more—in ways that put our ultimate priorities first: the safety and well-being of working families, especially frontline workers, and the economic health of society.”
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