How to Prepare for the 2020-21 School Year
If you’re like me, you’re constantly watching your news feed for information on your school’s plan for the 2020-21 school year. Possibly all remote, maybe hybrid, perhaps in-person full-time? But that seems to change by the hour. (In the 2 days that I wrote this post, 3 major school systems announced they are scrapping in-person learning and will open remotely. So.) How can you prepare for the 2021-21 school year?
A historic spring has turned into a chaotic summer and who knows what the fall will look like. While everything seems to be up in the air right now, school will start (in some form) soon. While that form may differ from school to school, there are things we all – students, teachers, and parents – can do to prepare for the 2020-21 school year.
Let’s talk about how you can prepare for the 2020-21 school year given the changes due to coronavirus. While some are actual things to do, many involve some serious thinking on your part. It’s time to fire up that thinking cap!
How to Prepare for the 2020-21 School Year
When I’m writing this (July 2020), the coronavirus is spreading like crazy in the U.S. While other countries have the virus under control . . . mine does not. As conditions change, states and schools are changing their plans as well.
If you haven’t already, bookmark the school or school district’s website and check it regularly. If there are email updates, you need to subscribe. This is not the time to ignore information from your school. Also, watch the local news or read a local newspaper – they will have the most up-to-date information for your city.
Plan for what you can
Knowing that the current plan may change, try to prep for the current plan.
- What will classes look like? When will they start?
- How will your transportation/ childcare/ job schedule need to change to fit this plan?
- Who will you need to call for support?
- What will have to change for this plan to work for you and your family?
- What will you need to buy for this plan – school supplies, desk for remote learning, masks?
Alternatives to “regular” school
I know a number of families K-12 thinking about homeschooling; please do the research before making this decision! Keep in mind that remote learning is not homeschooling; they are 2 different things. A great place to start is local homeschooling groups on Facebook. (Psst – if you go this route, I can help with Social Studies and English content. Just sayin’.)
In my city, a number of families are trying to form micro-schools, led by a licensed teacher. The teacher would work with 4-6 kids, either teaching everything (exhausting!) or supplementing the school’s remote learning program. This way students can still socialize and learn in-person, while staying away from large numbers of kids.
College students are deciding whether to pay big bucks for remote learning or take a gap year. Some are choosing to attend a community college instead (probably remotely as well) and saving money. (Just check that those community college credits will transfer to your university.)
Back to School Shopping?
This will probably mean a very different Back to School shopping season. I highly recommend taking an inventory of what supplies you already have in the house before buying new. If money is tight right now, check out neighborhood swap groups for used backpacks, school supplies, and clothes. If school is in-person, stock up on masks now. A lot of them.If you or your kids will stay home, what changes do you need to make in your home to make this work?Click To Tweet
If school is not opening in person, you won’t need a lot of clothes, but you might need to upgrade your internet provider or create a real study space in your home for school work. I highly recommend a desk or small table and a decent office chair.
Make back-up plans
After this spring, I think we’re all aware that plans can change fast. School is open full-time until there’s an outbreak and classes move online. You need backup plans for the (inevitable) changes that will happen.
At least consider the school’s other options (hybrid or remote learning) and what those might mean for your family. Your college sends everyone home – how will that affect the rest of your family? Uh oh – your child’s school closes unexpectedly. Who will stay home while the kids learn remotely? Or you’re a student and your parents get sick. Now you have to care for younger siblings. How will you still get classwork done?
I know that just thinking about these can cause anxiety. Because some of these options just will not work for your situation. (Working parents, I feel you on this one!) But it could happen. It’s better that you’ve thought it through before it happens.
What we all need right now is some dang kindness – for ourselves and others. I truly believe that local school administrators, principals, and teachers want what is best for students. And we know that attending school full-time is in students’ best interests. But, and this is a big but, they are also balancing that with the health of not only students, but the teachers and staff as well.
These are complex and weighty decisions. I am so glad that I don’t have to make them for thousands of my neighbors.
The next time you get overwhelmed or want to send a nasty email, please take some deep breaths, go for a walk, find someone to vent to, or eat some cookie dough. (That last one works for me every time.) I have more ideas for serious self-care here and here. We’re all riding out the same storm.