Traditionally, elected school board members control the actions of the local district. These officials determine the budget and approve many of the changes that occur to the physical building or protocols. Meetings are usually open to the community (albeit that may be online this year), and residents of the area have the ability and right to probe their choices and actions. It’s a crazy year. Even if kids are already back in the building, it’s not too late to get a feel for how those in charge are protecting and educating the youth of the town. Parents should know the answers to the following four questions.
1. How Is Social Distance Created in the Schools?
Collaboration has been a buzz word in schools for years. Group work and classroom partners often inspire engagement and may improve retention of material. But while schools are typically social places, this year it should be a bit different. Lessons may shift and the physical layout should be modified. Have the board members hired school safety and security management consultants to fully evaluate the best practices needed to safeguard children? If not, ask why not. It’s best to let the experts guide these decisions.
2. What Online Platforms Will Be Used for Distance Learning?
At some point, whether from quarantine or high COVID-19 numbers, students may be sent home to learn online. That may not look like last year’s emergency schooling. This time around, instructors probably want to go more in-depth, with full-day engagement. Inquire about how this may proceed and what your kids require at home to make it successful. Know the platforms and software required, so you can be prepared for any unfortunate isolations.
3. How Is Curriculum Shifting to Accommodate Last Year’s Chaos?
Some kids have experienced a gap in educational knowledge. Summer lapses are fairly common. Now, add to that the months in the spring. It’s possible some pupils fell behind significantly. What extra supports are being offered to fill in these holes? Are curriculum guides going to shift to reinforce some of the lost material?
4. How Is the District Monitoring and Communicating About Current Viral Cases?
This year’s situation is fluid. It’s possible that youth may be sent home for two weeks at a time or that school may have to shut down. Find out about how these things may happen. What are the reasons for having a child in quarantine? How long may that last? When might a school be faced with looking at full-time distance learning? Also, be aware of any dashboards that are conveying updated cases.
Be proactive and aware. It’s better to be prepared than caught off guard.