It is a strange world where an island nation, with one-fifth the population of the United States but one-half the death total from coronavirus, is discussing on a daily basis the reopening of schools on June 1st.
An education leader, Dr. Heery, shares in his blog the things to consider if “when” is decided.
First and most important thing to decided is Why?What are we trying to achieve by the reopening of schools? It may seem obvious, but if the purpose is primarily to get parents back into work, then our model will reflect this, if it’s to make sure that pupils continue to make progress, it will look different. If it’s to protect vulnerable pupils, it is different again. In our organisation, we’re working to the following objectives, in no particular order of priority:
To maintain continuity of learning for all students
To support remote learning support vulnerable students and the children of key workers
To support induction / transition
To provide a route towards a full re-opening of school
The idea that learning itself should be evaluated and reimagineered is on the table in many school communities around the world, not just the UK. New York City’s Governor Cuomo, for example, announced on Monday that Bill Gates will be joining a commission to do just that.
When should schools reopen? When it’s safe to get married in a wedding hall, to get a haircut?
What about poor communities where access to online learning is often limited? Should their greater decline in learning necessitate a significant intervention to bridge the growing gap?
All of these questions apply to other countries as well. But as about forty percent of my Twitter followers are from the U.K., this question of reopening is becoming a daily concern and conversation for educators.
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