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What Will School Look Like in 2020/2021?

An overview of what schools are in for this fall, as of June 2020

As we begin to familiarize ourselves with this new, pandemic-stricken normal, one of the areas that have undergone massive change is the education system. Children are among the most vulnerable in society, and it is natural that policymakers would strive to protect them. And that is exactly what the US is planning to do as it lines up phased re-openings for its educational institutions, but just what measures are they planning to take? And how will they be implemented? Well, let’s take a look!

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US schools as a whole are leaning towards hybrid learning, that is, having a reduced number of children present in the school building at any one time and using a combination of in-person and online learning. This is likely to entail a reduced in-person school week for each individual child as existing resources will now have to be spread over a larger time frame. The rest of the learning will continue to take place online. While this may carry some drawbacks, such as a lack of healthy discussions, the measure is an important one as it greatly reduces the risk of contamination.

Of course, innovation will play a key role as the US gets back into the education system. Some schools have opted to keep their actual buildings closed, with classes being held outside with adequate social distancing measures being held in place. In schools that are holding classes indoors, desks are placed spaciously, and there is a safe distance between the teacher and students. Proper hygiene measures are also being taken, with sanitizers made available to all students and face masks, and in some places, gloves, being a strict requirement. This is not all that US schools are doing; many, such as schools in Minnesota and California, have also implemented the use of plastic face shields to protect children from contaminating one another. Not only does this help curtail the virus, but it also creates a more stable environment that does not spread accidental sneezes to other individuals. Schools are also looking to online solutions for spirit wear, team uniforms, and school uniforms, in order to comply with contactless delivery requirements. Online apparel solutions, such as K-12 Clothing, have provided such services for years thereby making the transition for schools easy. K-12 has even helped some schools have some fun with these new requirements with spirit wear facemasks, donning school logos or mascots, for all students and staff.

Of course, standard health procedures will also be followed, with it being mandatory for students, teachers, and any other staff to have their temperature taken before they enter the school premises. Additionally, any individuals showing COVID symptoms are required to stay at home. If, despite these measures, some parents and guardians are hesitant to send their children back to school, many schools will be continuing with the option of remote learning. In fact, most states are sticking to remote learning, with California, Montana, and Georgia being among the exceptions. This option is particularly targeted towards immunocompromised children for whom the current global situation poses a greater risk.

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One aspect that has been greatly affected by COVID-19 the matter of school fundraising. In the US, most schools rely on fundraising to provide their students with an enhanced educational experience. Naturally, in pandemic-stricken times, these donations have decreased. The greatest cut in donations has come from parents, as they struggle to make ends meet due to increased unemployment. More importantly, some government based school funding is also impacted as resources will be pooled towards healthcare. As schools make a return to the physical classroom, this is a point of worry for parents, who may need to make up the short-fall, and educators, who have to worry about what programs may be cut.

While the US is clearly planning out elaborate SOPs to facilitate their move back into the education system, only time will tell how efficient these measures prove and how they will impact school attendance. The important thing is that we all play our part, including teachers, parents, and students, to ensure safety with learning!

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