How to Reopen Schools Post-Pandemic
Educators have had to rapidly adjust how they teach their students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many administrators have been experiencing virtual-teaching and are longing to be back in action with their kids. Even though everyone is quarantined and attempting to slow down the contagion, we can start to prepare for what happens after schools reopen. Some steps to consider are hiring new personnel, a catch-up curriculum, and obtaining the right tools to help keep students healthy.
The world’s economy and job market are at almost a unique and unprecedented time. With any profession in the current economic climate, there will be changes, both planned and unplanned. Some furloughs may continue, others laid off permanently, but some new jobs will arrive as well. Necessity is the ultimate mother of invention. With any crisis, there will be new tools to better prepare for the same event in the future. When new devices are created, then new jobs will follow.
What does this have to do with schooling? Not only is there going to be a shift in teachers and curriculum, but there will likely be more roles introduced to schools as well. Maybe your school will need more on-site healthcare professionals or cleaning staff. Regardless, it is essential to start looking for the right people as soon as possible.
Changing up the curriculum can help students catch up from any lag they might have gotten from online classes. As most people in the education system know, learning is more than just memorizing facts. In a school or institution, students also need social and emotional learning as well. While these kids may be maintaining some of the hard skills that standard education has to offer, they are missing out on soft skills that can be learned by experience and not from a computer screen.
Even if some students are lucky enough to have social opportunities from siblings or parents, they could still benefit from adjusting the curriculum when schools reopen anyway. Schools might have to shift the topics taught based on skills rather than age. Some good models to go off of are the institutions that have a year-round schooling infrastructure. These districts typically base teaching on skill level, not age. Since students could be at different stages of their education, year-round schooling could be a beneficial system post-pandemic.
Tools and Products
While there will be a point in time where kids start to go back to school, it will not be as easy as pressing a button. This re-emergence into society is not going to be an overnight success. It will likely include trial and error until the waves of the virus ultimately lessen or a tested vaccine breaks through the healthcare gates. What do educators do then as they dip their toes back into normalcy? They need to make sure they have the proper tools to keep schoolgoers safe.
Since the virus will likely never disappear entirely, these added hygiene measures we’ve seen in the past few months are going to continue in some form. To properly prepare for life after stay-at-home orders, administrators should stock up on antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, and surface-cleaners. It could also be beneficial to include special cleaning procedures during the day as well as stocking up on gloves and masks. Not only are educators going to be washing surfaces more, but they also need to prevent germs from entering teachers’ and students’ bodies.
Social Distancing Barriers
We’ve all heard the term ‘social distancing’ and have been living it for almost two months now. Social distancing is the way of the future even after we reopen schools again. Another tool that can help social distancing are physical barriers between large groups of people—Clear Dividers from Screenflex work great for this purpose. A portable see-through wall prevents germs from spreading while still allowing communication through it.
It will be some time before we see a trace of normality again, but it will happen. Once kids can go back to school, parents will be able to go back to work. By adding some new adjustments into the new-normal of living, we can slowly restart our society after the pandemic.