You probably never thought you would hear the words come out of your child’s mouth, “I really want to go back to school!” Some kids enjoy school for English and math classes, others enjoy it for socializing and sports, and still others enjoy a combination of everything offered in the school environment. But, no matter what type of student your child is right now, I can bet s/he is ready to go back to school. They are over the virtual online schooling and I know that as a parent, I’m over it too. But, the question moving forward into the summer and the new school year is….will there be in–the-classroom physical teaching?
Can the city of New Orleans and surrounding parishes even consider not starting the school year with real classes inside a real classroom? I don’t know about the rest of the parents, but these last two months have been a virtual hell! Math, science, English, writing, social studies, foreign language, art, and let’s not forget P.E. But, this list doesn’t stop there, there is also music classes and snack time and lunch time (which the short order cook, me, is about to quit). My only hope was that it would all end soon, but NOOOOO the future of this virtual teaching stuff has the potential of becoming permanent, which begs the question, what are we going to do?
What Other Countries Are Doing
Denmark was actually the first country in the Western world to reopen its elementary schools since the start of the corona-virus pandemic. Parents are not allowed inside the school, teachers cannot gather in the staff room, and kids have their own desks separated by two yards. At recess, the kids can only play in small groups, and there is lots of masks and sanitizer everywhere. One of the main jobs of these teachers now is to keep social distancing rules in place, then they can teach. Quebec in Canada has also opened some schools with similar rules in place. In Australia, schools are opening with students attending school one day a week in staggered groups. In Cyprus, health workers wearing masks and gloves tested students for COVID-19 before they could enter the school. In Shanghai, students and staff must enter the school building by going through a thermal scanner. But, despite all of these changes, the kids – of all ages – were happy to be back at school.
New Orleans Metro Area Public Schools
Nobody knows the cliff notes version of this paragraph. In New Orleans according to the NOLA Public Schools website (HERE), the Superintendent has identified three core areas in need of immediate resources: distance learning, child nutrition, and school sanitation. There is not too much information for Jefferson Parish School on their website (HERE), but it appears they are starting to create steps for preventative actions at the schools, see more here. But, at this time, there does not seem to be a plan in place for the upcoming school year. We have all heard the rumors that range from virtual education only to a staggered school day and even to only allowing students who need more help to come to school. Once again, these are only rumors from the online grapevine of chatters. Unfortunately, if the public schools do not start school in the fall, it brings up a whole bunch of questions…What happens to our children’s education and will they fall behind? How will parents’ be able to go to work? Is childcare for the younger kids a thing of the past? What about the kids who count on the daily breakfast and lunches provided by schools?
New Orleans Metro Area Private Schools
Did you pay your tuition for this year? What about next year? For those who have paid the tuition for this year, you may feel as if you should get a refund. All parents understand that these are difficult times for teachers, principles and school administrators, but it hasn’t been any easier for parents. Parents and school administrators/teachers are all having to quickly adapt from physical learning in a classroom to a virtual world of videos, written assignments, and more at home. Some schools went above and beyond to make this “experience” as good as possible. We have heard stories and watched videos of teacher caravans on social media visiting their students at their homes, one-on-one zoom meetings with kids and parents, hand written letters sent by teachers to students, and schools trying all sorts of fun things to try to make graduating seniors and kindergartners last days of the school year special. Some teachers are doing live virtual teaching and others are doing pre-recorded classes. But then, there is the other side of this “experience” that many parents have endured. Some schools have just sent a long list of duties to be performed by the student which may entail watching documentaries of other people teaching or projects that require more time than a working parent or a parent with more than one child can handle. So, the question many parents are asking themselves now is ….if the school will not be open physically, is the virtual education worth paying tuition for the upcoming year?
A Question for Parents
So, as we approach the summer, that appears will not include summer camp, what are you planning on doing for the upcoming school year?