Common Solutions for Reopening Schools

I listened to Jennifer Gonzalez on her Cult of Pedagogy podcast and looked at her website. Lots of good stuff on it. I am trying to learn as much as I can about the reopening of schools. Below is a list of solutions schools are using to get back at least some of their students and teachers.

  1. Alternating Days or Half Days – This lowers density in the classrooms to aid physical distancing.
  2. Cohorts – Keeping groups of students and teachers isolated from other groups in school. The idea being in case of a case of Covid-19, only that cohort would need to quarantine, not the entire school.
  3. Selective Return of Grade Levels or Groups – The idea here is to allow for the students needing the most on-campus instruction to receive it. This may include grade 12 (seniors) who need to graduate, early childhood and younger elementary students that cannot access the curriculum online, and groups with special needs, for example English Language Learners. Faculty members over a certain age might also be reassigned to teach online instead of on campus because they are vulnerable to the disease. A younger substitute should
  4. One Course at a Time – Students stay in the same course for a few weeks with one teacher. Instead of switching classes every hour, this would reduce mixing students daily.
  5. One-Room School House – This could work in elementary school with a homeroom teacher handling all of the teaching. Teachers may need to switch to a Project-based Learning and interact with specialists and other teachers, remotely. Some schools are making “mini-lessons” videos that students can voluntarily. The model would be a group of teachers assigned to a large group of students. Teachers would be assigned a part of the group, but all teachers contributing according to their strengths. Students would be working on long-term projects. I think this would work well with grade 10 Personal Projects or Grade 5 exhibition.
  6. Individual Learning Plan – The idea is to design 5 basic plans, ranging from staying-at-home 100% , coming to school occasionally, daily instruction, etc. Students could be batched according to their needs.
  7. Keep Distance Learning – 100% Virtual Learning is working and this might be a good way to start the school year.

Some other ideas to consider include the following:

  • Get input from all stakeholders
  • Looping – Teachers stay with their same year level group in the new school year.
  • Substitutes for older teachers over age 55.
  • Prepare for a full year of online teaching or at least a significant part of it. Provide PD for improving designing online teaching. It will still be there, so regardless, you can use the school time for connecting with students.
  • Provide childcare for faculty members with children.

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