By Drew Sarmiere - June 26, 2020
THE FUTURE OF LEARNING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC 2020
Many of us are naturally wondering what the upcoming 2020-2021 school year is going to look like. Will students return to school? If so, will it be full time or some modified schedule? Will there be remote learning (online learning)? If so, how much and what will that look like? No one, yet, has the answers to all of these questions. However, as an educator of 20 years, and as someone who has close ties to teachers and educators in multiple school districts in multiple states, I have a sense of what we can expect.
Remote learning (online learning) this past spring was a bit of a disaster. This is not a denunciation of our educators or educational system; everyone did the best they could under the circumstances. Fortunately, given that we have learned from this past experience, future efforts at remote learning should be improved. As for us here at Peak, we’ve been offering successful online support for students for over a decade. Importantly, if we can do it effectively, so can our schools.
So, what will next school year likely look like? There’s an enormous desire, for many reasons, for students to return to school in the fall. And there’s nothing more I’d like to see. I suspect that, despite continued rise in covid cases right now, and likely continued rise over the summer, it will take A LOT to prevent schools from reopening their doors to students in some form or another. However, I highly doubt schools will open full-time and “back to normal.” This doubt increases each day as the news of increased covid cases continues unabated.
I suspect that schools will open in some modified form that will include a mix of in-class instruction and remote learning (online instruction). I doubt, however, that whatever system is initially set in place will last. More than likely, shortly after students begin returning to the classroom they and/or staff will begin to fall ill. Once that happens, schools will likely fully close again and return to full-time remote learning (online instruction).
This will look differently depending on the grade level of students. Younger students in elementary school will likely spend more time in school than older students, primarily because they are not yet able to learn very well via online platforms. So, we can expect to see younger students spending more time at school. Older students (middle school and high school) will likely spend less time in school and spend more time learning online. Currently, many colleges are considering bringing students back to school earlier and releasing them early around Thanksgiving. Given how the pandemic is currently progressing, I doubt colleges will be able to keep students on campus that long, forcing students home early to learn remotely.
In short, it’s quite likely students will report back to school in some form or another come this August/September; however, it will only be a matter of time before those students are sent home to finish out the semester. Hopefully, we will have a vaccine available sometime during the school year which will allow students to return to school full-time and life to go back to some type of normalcy. I recommend parents, students, and educators begin to prepare for the fact that remote learning (online instruction) is very likely going to be an integral part of our educational system during the 2020-2021 school year.
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