In addition to the option I wrote in Part 1, I can see an entirely separate option for pandemic school organization.

In this option, schools are organized exactly as usual. As a teacher, you will have to manage both your in-person students and those that opt to learn from home. Students can move back and forth between the two options as needed (with emphasis on needed – this is not meant to be a drop-off service of convenience, but rather of necessity).

For this to work, enough students would need to opt for at home learning in order to make it safer for those that must attend school to safely physically distance. Families might have to be encouraged to opt to keep their child at home if they are able to do so without causing hardship. (Though I wouldn’t want schools to put themselves in a position to judge or enforce any kind of policy on that.)

The only variation is that I would suggest rotary should be cancelled and every teacher be assigned a homeroom group. You could also opt to shorten the school day slightly to allow for teachers to give themselves their own planning time, which would create slightly smaller class sizes and allow for staggered start/end of the school day to further help with physical distancing.

If a teacher requires a medical accommodation and cannot teach in person classes, an LTO will need to be hired to replace them (which would be an additional investment above usual budgets). The accommodated teacher, working from home, can then be used to provide online elective opportunities (much like I described in part 1).

In order to make this manageable, what you would do as a teacher is to treat it as if the entire class were learning online. All lessons and assignments would be posted online, student work would be submitted online, etc. This would require boards to invest in 1:1 technology so that all students had a device whether they were in school or at home.

In person and at home students would participate in some scheduled synchronous opportunities via video conference, connecting the two ‘parts’ of the class together for lessons or discussions. Teachers and classrooms would need to be appropriately equipped to facilitate this – many are not currently.

But you can’t be on a video conference all day. Students need parts of the day to work on assignments and practice skills. In person students can benefit from having the teacher present to ask questions or seek clarification. At home students can do the same thing via email or popping into an optional ‘office hours’ video chat. But all work would be 100% digital and all students would have identical assignments – not a completely different experience in school than at home. Not two different sets of experiences to prepare for the teacher.

The biggest benefit of this model is the ability to seamlessly transition from in person to at home learning, both on the level of individual students or in the case of the entire class needing to transition to 100% online.

I can see this model working better for grade 4 and up. Perhaps it’s a matter of combining what I described in part 1 for K-3 and this option for 4+?

Categories: General

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