Thoughts about students and schools that need to be evaluated before opening this fall
Starting as early as August schools in the USA will be once again opening their doors but they are still putting together their restrictions and plans to insure safety in regard to COVID-19.
Collected below are a few thoughts about reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.
Let’s start with the most obvious stumbling block to implementing anything new in a school building. It’s Money. Money, Money, Money. It’s going to take a lot more money to put into place the proposals from the CDC. And with schools already strapped for cash (and possibly even more so as many parents could be planning to homeschool their kids this year), schools will find many of these ideas impossible to enact. Let’s look at just a few ideas: social distancing, transportation, and face masks.
Kids will not social distance. School age children cannot be expected to maintain the idea of social distancing. Kids are playful, interactive, and social all day long. Who exactly is going to police the 6 foot rule in the classroom, hallway or playground. Teachers will not be able to stand guard at all times while trying to get their lessons done. Schools promote interaction. They always have. Maintaining a 6 foot distance in group activities will not be possible. Classrooms are already overflowing, hallways are packed between classes, and physical education will become more of a health class with books and less activities.
Teachers will not be able to social distance. Teachers and support staff work side by side (literally) to create lesson plans, grade papers, prepare assignments, and change out bulletin boards regularly. Teachers do not have private offices or separate spaces where they can relax and stay when not working with their students. During lunch it’s not uncommon for them to meet in the staff lounge (if one even exists) to get away from it all and celebrate or eat lunch. Imagine the revolution that will take place if the teachers lounge is eliminated.
Transportation School buses cannot effectively enforce or even accommodate social distancing regulations, nor will they be able to run additional routes to keep seats open. With the average school bus already running daily round trips to elementary, middle, and high schools, they are making 6 runs every day. Reducing bus capacity to one third means buses will need to make 3 complete trips every morning just for the high schools – the earliest starting schools. That would need to be repeated again for the middle schools and again for the elementary schools. At dismissal time, this will start all over again. There is not enough time in the day or a sufficient budget for triple the fuel required. School days will need to be lengthened greatly, pay will need to increase, and maintenance costs will soar.
Masks There is only one thing to say about masks. Ha!
This cartoon says it all.
Of course there are dozens of other considerations. But these three proposed considerations are enough for anyone to seriously question the survival of schools. Assumptions must be challenged and the statistics of children even being affected by this virus must be weighed before restrictions are mandated. Fingers crossed that the New Normal is just the Old Normal Part 2.
And of course, I’ll be transparent here. I want assembly shows to continue as normal. That’s what I do for a living. Thousands of school children make up my audiences every month. Assembly shows are not just a way for kids to learn, but they are also escapism for teachers – getting their minds off of work for an hour once a month.
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