Back to School In the Age of COVID: How Parents Can Prepare

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During these unprecedented times, many students will be returning to school this fall with more big changes to their normal routine. Here are some important details that parents should keep in mind while preparing for the 2020-2021 school year!

The big question: are schools reopening?

This is the concern on every parent’s mind, and unfortunately there isn’t a consistent answer. School reopenings are going to vary largely by state, with local government and educational officials making the final call. Even within your state, it’s important to check with your child’s school district. Regions with low rates of infection are likely to see more in-person classes, whereas more populated areas are likely to have more safeguards and protective measures in place.

Families may also be presented with the option of a blended learning model. Essentially, this is a combination of in-person and online learning options – students can attend on-site classes for a portion of the week, and complete the remainder from home. However, due to health concerns, these arrangements may not be a requirement. As an example: New York is home to our nation’s largest school district (NYC) – and although on-site classes will be offered, families will still have the option to choose 100% remote learning for safety concerns.

Tutor Doctor’s best advice is to stay informed and updated from your state and local officials regarding school reopenings in your region. In the case that your student will be returning to school in the fall, we strongly recommend adhering to CDC guidelines (or see Canadian guidelines here) to prevent spread. This includes proper face coverings and sanitary supplies to be used throughout the day.

My student will be attending school online. Should we expect a similar routine to early 2020?

Yes and no. In terms of the structure of online classes, there will be many similarities to what students experienced earlier this year. However, there’s one critical difference: this time around, students have had time to prepare – and so have their teachers! During the initial outbreak earlier this year, the shift to online learning came rather unexpectedly. Within a matter of weeks (or even days, in some cases), students experienced a full transition from normal school to virtual learning. Without much time to prepare, teachers were understandably more lenient (especially in terms of grades). In many regions, students were given automatic passes. In other districts, a student’s grades were not allowed to go below what they already had at the time schools initially closed down. Although this was very helpful for students and families struggling to adjust, it also presented an unintended side effect for students who were already doing well. For example – if a student already had a B in March when schools closed, under this policy they were essentially guaranteed this grade regardless of their academic performance during the rest of the school year.

With that said, it’s unlikely that the same exceptions are going to be made this time around. Students have now had ample time to familiarize themselves with virtual learning. Just as importantly, their teachers have also now had several months to adjust to online learning platforms. With this in mind, it’s important to remind your kids to treat this school year like any other. Although it may feel different with the structuring of online classes, their academic requirements will be the same as any other year. This means attending 5 days of classes and completing nightly homework assignments. Families and students feeling confused or overwhelmed with these arrangements should use this time to reach out to your child’s school before the academic year begins. Schools and teachers will be doing everything they can to make this transition as easy as possible for their students!

If you have any questions or concerns, use the next few months to your advantage. At Tutor Doctor, we’re always happy to help – feel free to give us a call to discuss virtual learning strategies as well as online tutoring options.

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