Will Schools Open This Fall? Should They?

It will take a village to open schools safely.

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Three Options for Schools

Remote learning would be sticking with the same program that students and teachers experienced at the end of the 2019–2020 school year with Zoom classes from home. There are a few issues with this option. First, students must have access to a computer, the internet, and a quiet place to do their work. Second, parents must take a more active role in their child’s education.

Making the Case for Online Learning

Colleges and universities, in particular, have taken a huge hit, losing hundreds of millions from student boarding revenue and student tuition. Bringing students back is understandably driven by financial considerations — but not pedagogical ones. Of course, finances are important, but teaching QUALITY is important, too, and should be top of mind as these decisions are being made.

Best Practices for Remote Learning

While face-to-face learning is often preferred, there are a few ways for teachers to maximize online platforms.

  • Clearly communicate expectations. Many of us feel a bit scatterbrained these days, so the more specific you can be with your students with time zones, deadlines, turn on video, mute your microphone, participation requirements, rubrics, etc., the better.
  • Don’t forget about your pedagogy. Take some time to reflect on your strengths as a teacher and consider how you can bring them to the online space. Likewise, there may also be some strategies that you will have to change or reconsider for remote learning.
  • Remember that not all students learn the same way. Some may need more processing time or need to both hear and see the information to learn. Share images or videos with students after class and provide transcripts if possible.
  • Take advantage of available options. Use polls and breakout groups to mix things up and allow students to interact in different ways. Add in some pre-recorded videos and invite students to participate regularly.
  • Give regular breaks. It can be more difficult to focus on a screen than in a classroom, so everyone can benefit from a 30–60 second stretch break every 20–30 minutes.

Additional Resources for Schools:

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