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….