The end of this school year hit with an unsatisfying thud.
Parents of graduating seniors hosted drive-by open house parties.
Elementary parents picked up a garbage bag of school supplies at a pre-scheduled time.
Our angst-filled teenagers were justifiably scowly when their yearbooks were cleanly distributed without the opportunity to have friends reflect on the passing of another academic year. Gone was the pomp and circumstance that we love.
We all sheltered from our traditional celebrations to keep our families safe from COVID-19. While we missed the traditional end of the year celebrations, we got our heads around the fact that safety was the overriding and ultimately most important aspect of our lives.
And now’s the time to prepare ourselves and our students for a vastly different return to school in the fall.
There are many unknowns about how the public health landscape will look in a few months, and our teachers and administrators are planning a path to guide us through those unknowns.
Districts across Iowa are working feverishly to protect the health and safety of your children and mine while reimagining a learning environment for them that’s unlike what any of us have known.
Friends, it’s a distinct possibility that your sweet snowflake won’t pose with her backpack on her shoulders and a smile on her face as she walks into her building on the first day of school. That first day, a mask might cover that beautiful smile.
It’s possible that it may be best for your student and her friends to return to some kind of virtual learning environment. Her new school day might include remote student learning through a virtual classroom if safety concerns prohibit access to the physical building where your child used to learn, laugh, and enjoy time with her friends and teachers.
And it’s a possibility that your student may get to come into her building and attend a face-to-face learning environment, but maybe only a few days a week. A rotating schedule of some kind might be required to help a district adhere to public health guidance that might still require kids to have a six-foot buffer around them.
Today, these are all hypothetical scenarios.
But these scenarios are on the table as school district administrators innovate at a lightning-fast pace to prepare for our next school year just next month. Our districts won’t make the right call every time, but they see the opportunity and challenge hidden within every decision they’re making.
As a parent, your job and mine is to voice both support and input through this process.
We need to ready ourselves and our families for a new landscape ahead, and seek help when needed from our educational partners so we can be successful.
Together we’re focused on a common goal: providing a healthy return to school for our students.
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