I’ve been sharing various posts about what the next school year might look like (see THE BEST POSTS PREDICTING WHAT SCHOOLS WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE FALL).
Here is what I think it’s going to look like in many high school classrooms (and very possibly in elementary and middle schools, too), including my own:
- There will be some kind of staggered attendance – either by days or morning/afternoon shifts (more likely the former), and done in a way that there will be a maximum of ten students in a classroom at any one time. I’m thinking the absolute maximum amount of time any one student will physically be in the classroom will be the equivalent of two days.
- The remaining student time will be online at home in asynchronous classrooms
- Forget physical books, pencils or papers for quick-writes – all reading and writing will be done on laptops, even if students are in physical classrooms.
- Even small group work will be done online. Perhaps specific procedures and locations can be identified to have pairs of students carefully move to locations where they can talk at a distance, but not to make physical posters. They can make online posters that can be shared with the teacher, and then both stand in front on opposite sides of the front to orally present.
- Every student will have a school-issued laptop, and have to bring it to school everyday. Of course, some will forget, or will have slept in a different place the night before, or their device will break, so we’re going to have to have several extra laptops on hand each day and a procedure for sanitizing them afterwards.
- Students will largely be cohorted so they stay with the same group of classmates each day in the same room. We teachers will be moving around to them. Since we won’t be using paper packets or books, we teachers won’t have a lot to carry around with us. We’ll also have to have time and a procedure to sanitize the teacher desk, computer projector remote control and teacher computer each period.
- Lunches will be staggered, too, and students will eat breakfast and lunch in the same room with their regular classmates.
- Of course, we’ll all (teachers and students alike) be wearing masks all day.
- All of us teachers will have to radically reconfigure how we teach our curriculum – how can we maximize our physical face-time with our students and determine what is most appropriate for online work when we’re not around. We certainly want to minimize student use of laptops when they are with us, but what will that look like?
- I know some are talking about giving students and teachers temperature checks before they enter school, but that just seems to me to be a logistical nightmare – not that everything else I’ve listed aren’t ones, either. I just wonder if this move would just be “a bridge too far.”
- Classes will have designated times and locations for bathroom breaks.
- Cleaning and sanitizing – boy will there be time spent cleaning and sanitizing. But I have no idea how or when all that is going to happen.
- Teachers will have to be planning their classes like every one could be the last one before schools are closed again.
I’m sure I’m missing a lot of things, and I hope readers will share them in the comments section.
It seems to me that if my predictions are correct, things should be safe enough for everyone, including for those of us in the fifty-five-to-sixty-five range, or those of us who have health conditions.
One of my biggest questions is how serious districts will be on providing protective equipment and funding staff to do the necessary cleaning?
Another bigger one is the issue of equality versus equity.
I wrote a bit about this in Are We Going About This Whole “Distance Learning” Thing All Wrong? I’ve expanded it into a piece for Ed Week that will appear next week.
Some of our most vulnerable populations, including English Language Learners, students with special needs, and others who are challenged by “opportunity gaps,” need to have more than two days a week of live classes in order to move ahead. Can districts make exceptions for these students, who will also benefit greatly from the small class sizes?
It’s going to be a hell of a year….
For the 55+ teachers maybe there will be some sort of new blended learning concept where the teacher interacts online during class with small groups with a substitute supporting remaining students. We will see!
additional instructors, substitutes and aides will increase budgets, cause over runs; unless they plan on stealing funds from or laying of teachers in the sports programs, art, music, photography, cosmetology, carpentry, pre-nursing, EMT, etc. programs.
What about changing in the grading structure ? Like in NYC they either meet standards, need improvement, or course in progress…
I think this is the model a lot of districts WANT to do, but I just don’t see how it logistically scales for a school of any significant size and allows for social distancing. My middle school is 1,400 kids. The high school we feed is 3,000+. Even with 5 groups, my school would have 280 students per day. How do you move that many kids through the halls safely? Maybe the kids stay in the same room and the teachers move around (but then what about electives with different groups of students)? Bathrooms? Entering the school safely? Lunch? I’m just not sure – you can distance in the classroom but there are a lot of other choke points…
The trickle-down effect on the parents is interesting as well. For the younger students, any virtual model assumes their parents are able to stay home when they aren’t in school.
I wonder if the model might be that the kids who need help come to school and the others stay home. Do the work, pass the content, and you get to stay home (still with access to the teacher). Need in-person tutoring? Failing a class? Come to school. Another alternative might be optional attendance in staggered groups with the live class being broadcast to the at-home kiddos? So you opt-in for the in-person class up to a max. I suspect it will be something like that – simultaneous (potentially asynchronous) groups at home and groups in class up to a max number depending on logistics.
At the very least, it seems like those kids with at-risk folks at home would be able to stay home. So there will be a virtual class going at the same time as a traditional class in any of those models. That’s what I am preparing for now.
Agree, side by side, simultaneous on campus and virtual classes (recorded).
We just reopened at an international school in China this week. You’re mostly on point. Here’s a few other things.
Temperature checks x2 daily. Recorded by teacher.
Daily document stating no symptoms.
Every lesson is live and asynchronous bc many students won’t return.
Lengthened breaks to allows staggered transitions between classes.
Teacher at the front talking style of teaching bc one on one communication is virtually impossible.
Class size reductions to avoid congregating.
It’s a strange way to teach. We’ve lost students each day we’ve been open because it’s so structured and “doesn’t feel like school”. Requires a very intentional social emotional component to reopen and then make school a place that kids want to be.
Contact tracing seating charts – students are assigned a seat per classroom and that is their seat until the end of the year – no dynamic groupings.
No shared materials.
Just more emotional trauma and mental health concerns… suicide rates have already increased, this will not help.
I think this sounds like a reasonable plan for high school students. Better to be at school 1 or 2 days per week than not at all, and it’s easier to put them in place and have the adults move around. I teach elementary and we eat in our classrooms anyway. It’s easy to get used to. Does your district already provide one:one devices for students? I imaging everyone will move to that model going forward, even in the younger grades.
Our district distributed Chromebooks two weeks ago
Amazing how our one high school (900), one middle school and two primary/elementary schools had enough chrome books on hand, imaged and updated to pass out within weeks of the original shut down date. We have a very small IT department in our school district.
How do you see this affecting art, music, gym teachers and students in elementary classrooms?
Great question. And I’ve got no idea.
This plan seems a bit far-fetched but possibly doable at the high school level, but absolutely impossible at elementary school, especially for primary grades, and wildly far-fetched for middle school. The idea that having the budget to support this kind of increase in spending ( two to three times the cost) when most District budgets have been cut in half is the biggest obstacle.
I believe one hurdle we haven’t yet figured out how to clear is the issue with childcare when students are supposed to stay home.
Daycares will obviously also need to maintain social distancing and will have reduced admittance each day, and there is veritably no way to coordinate that with a student’s school schedule that makes this even reasonably feasible for many parents. I am worried that schools will make plans to have 50% of their students in the building on a given day, but then still not have adequate attendance because of the plethora of variables (like childcare) that hinder equitable access to the services required to make attending school possible.
What about teachers with their own children?