We have started the school year and most report the feeling of living in a time warp. It’s been nearly 6 months since students were in school buildings with teachers. It goes without saying that anyone involved in education will be monitoring student needs. The thoughts about what school will look like and how students will come back have been an ever-present companion since spring. Academics, as well as, behavioral, physical and emotional needs will be simultaneous priorities.
There’s no way to fully gauge the educational losses of the past few months. Early indicators will point out some gaps and holes, but the most telling data points won’t be available until students have been in school and we track this abrupt change for months and likely years. That doesn’t mean that everything is all gloom and doom though.
Educators, who hold a professional license, have been working out how they will be schooling students since the soft closure in March. Many things will be different and many things will stay the same. During this time of heightened opinions of how to address the pandemic, we continue to focus on the best ways to address issues in the classroom.
Schools have tried to stay out of the politics of the day, but it’s nearly impossible given the amount of information shared every day, the amount of conflicting information and the amount of information shared on social media. Combatting rumors, providing proper context to narratives and correcting misinformation is a twenty-four hour a day job.
It’s easy to understand the confusion and frustration about the educational landscape. National reports advise parents that schools should continue to expand its online offerings, keeping students out of buildings. Then parents are told to be wary of online courses as they are potentially subpar and will not serve needs. Even when decisions are made, this cycle of contradiction erodes any confidence in a system designed to help kids. How do we reasonably navigate the overabundance of information when tracking our own instincts and positions?
Local decisions and the Boards that make them, are positioned to help advance student needs when aided with reliable information and consultants. Communication between schools and home will be nothing short of critical this school year. Please look to your local school and district as the primary source for factual information. The schools, for their part, will be working to meet those communication expectations.
For Cassia Schools, the decisions leading up to a reopening were weighed and studied with input from the community, educators and local public health. Moving forward, the roles are established to provide a cooperation between parties. Public health determines the transmission categories within the counties and local boards determine the educational response. Long term success is achieved when we work together and leverage the strength of the community. The role of schools in the overall vitality of any community can’t be overstated and this consideration also factors into positive outcomes.
We do not know what the future holds, but we do know that when we adapt to change, when it comes, it’s a sign of a commitment to education and a desire to serve students and the community.