There is nothing quite like being in a classroom interacting with classmates and the teacher while a lesson is going on. When subjects are presented, questions arise from different students, and a range of opinions can be explored. It’s an environment rich in learning not only the subject matter, but also in learning about each other. The distance learning that our kids did at the end of last school year was not anything like that. They would Zoom with the class, but it was a very different experience for both of them and it only lasted an hour each day. Plus, it was very frustrating trying to play Teacher’s Aide: Home Edition. With the start of this new school year, I was wondering how they were going to address the challenges of getting children taught, whether it be in person or online or a mixture of both.
The Hillsborough County School District is teaming up with Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida to ensure that schools will open with safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The superintendent is asking the school board to delay the start of the school year by two weeks so that the entire district will be ready to go. He also alluded to the fact that they will have a fluid plan in place to be able to change things as they go along and not be stuck staying on one course. The announcement this afternoon follows similar ones by Manatee, Polk, and Sarasota counties about delaying the start of the school year. This is certainly no surprise and very welcome in my eyes. The teachers and staff need to be better equipped to keep the classrooms tidy and I’m sure there will be great discussions about limiting student movement to prevent possible cross contamination.
I feel confident that they can pull this off. My kids are currently attending a day camp that has small classes, frequent hand washing, temperature readings, and staff with masks on. The kids have been there for about three weeks and they are enjoying it. Added bonus of no reported illnesses! The school district can replicate this success on a larger scale and they have already indicated that each student will be getting three face masks issued to them. That will most certainly help everyone concerned. The most important part of all of this is that they will have a better internet based system to be utilized by students if/when they are learning from home. That alone is fantastic news to hear. So if the need to be home is there, we will all be set up for success.
This is going to be an interesting year, so we will need to be patient, understanding, and flexible. Nothing we do should put others at risk and hopefully we can get the kids back where they rightfully belong safely. I will be more than happy to get whatever school supplies are needed for their teachers and I’ll probably throw in an extra gift card for them personally to show our appreciation for the hard work that is ahead of them. We can do this, but we must do it together.