No schools, no exams, more online/distance learning, and parents in COVID-19 lockdown with their kids. Some parents are working from home, others have lost their jobs and teachers are creating an entirely new way of doing their jobs — not to mention the kids themselves, stuck inside without their friends.
Somehow, we will get through this. When we do, how will things look when school starts again?
It is important that all school management spend time planning for the new school term under various scenarios – full return to physical school, staggered physical or a blend of online and physical school.
Here are 6 things Schools Must be Doing to Prepare for the New Term Post COVID:
1. Get teachers upskilled with technology: Most teachers would need to upscale with regards to the use of technology for teaching. Post COVID-19 using technology isn’t going away. And it’s always good to prepare in case another lockdown is required. Help your teachers get comfortable with using various technology tools for teaching and communicating with parents. Also, relevant safety training on safety precautions post COVID would be required.
2. Organise training to upskills students on selected technology: Whatever technology the school decides, this is the time to get the children familiar with using it and shorten the learning curve. So that when school resumes fully the focus is more on learning than getting familiar with the tool. Organise training to teach children and help them navigate easily using technology to ensure easy learning.
3. Getting and analysing feedback from parents on online learning: Distance/remote/online was a major shift for schools, teacher, parents and the student. There was the good, bad and the ugly. This is a good time to gather all the feedback from the various stakeholders including the teacher to understand the major challenges and what they school can do to better address the challenges given the existing limitations.
4. Resource planning: The various scenarios under a post COVID resumption would require different resources. Resource planning is very key for schools. How much human and physical resources would be required? What are the cost implications? What cost-effective options can be explored? For instance, PPE – should students bring theirs from home or the school will include the cost as part of the fees? How many students can the school accommodate required physical distancing? What changes need to be made to the layout and usage of existing resources/facilities?
5. Communicating with parents on plans for new terms under various scenario: Student’s safety will always be the number one priority. Based on the required safety guidelines, feedback from surveys with the parents, the school Management needs to develop a plan on how school would operate. These plans should be shared with the parents. It is important that parent’s inputs are obtained before finals plans are rolled out. Also discussing what the curriculum, extracurricular and school fees would look liked based on safety guidelines is also an important discussion to include before the new term.
6. Review and assess the learning needs of students: Depending on how online learning went, it would be good to assess the learning needs of the students and have plans to bridge the gaps caused by the school closures and remote learning interventions. .
What would school post lockdown look like? We really do not know.
Children may only attend two or three days of the week, close earlier, have smaller classes, movement restriction, wear masks, play areas and extracurricular activities might be off-limit.
Schools need to take time to plan and ensure open dialogue with parents and other stakeholder
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