Life after coronavirus?
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March 20 2020. A date in which life as we know it changed drastically as schools shut their gates and students went home with no sign of when they would return.
Since then, parents have juggled working from home with home schooling and furloughed parents have turned into a full time teachers. Children of key workers have been to school but not quite like they’re used to. Instead of a bustling classroom with their friends, they’ve had to face a much smaller class with faces from other age groups and, sometimes, even other schools.
However, almost 2 and a half months down the line, life is set to change once more as some students return to school. June 1 is the date pencilled into the diaries for parents, students and teachers of those in years 1, 2 and 6.
Despite a sense of positivity amongst some with the reopening of the school gates; others are understandably anxious and nervous about sending their children back to school.
Learning in the classroom
Classrooms won’t resemble what children are used to. Yes, there’ll be desks, chairs, stationary and their work adorning the walls but they won’t have their friends sat next to them and they’ll even have to distance themselves at breaks. They’ll be allowed to play together, but from a distance and a hug will be replaced by a smile and a wave.
However, children being back at school will see a return to a new normal for many families. Homework will be back on the agenda and school applications and websites will be awash with vital updates and important information.
Online is essential
In fact, it’s never been more important for a school and its community to have a strong communication channel and school websites have been a key factor throughout this period. Technology has been used more than ever before with emails being sent containing work and video lessons replacing classroom teachings.
However, going forward we don’t expect that to change. With a select few students returning, those students still at home will still be receiving work and parents will be expecting communication from school about when their child is expected to return.
Progress reports will be essential to monitor student progress, especially considering the amount of time they’ve lost in their education and parents may want to be more involved than ever before with their child’s education – especially since they’ve acted as teachers themselves for more than two months!
What does the future of education look like?
What’s become clear during the last 9 weeks, is that schools and businesses were ill prepared for a remote working set up, with companies scrambling to source laptops and connectivity devices to enable their employees to work from home. Schools were forced into preparing to provide lessons and homework to students from a distance, overnight the school website became the most important communication channel between the school and home. With work being uploaded to school websites every day and an entire school accessing it from home, being with a reliable website provider was no doubt the make or break of this situation. No doubt many schools experienced frustrations with their website going down from so many connections (due to poor hosting) or the site not being user friendly enough that students and parents couldn’t find what they needed easily.
Going forward schools need to be prepared for a similar closure if there is to be a second spike, and that’s not just limited to thinking about the school website. Homework is also a key consideration and looking at solutions for homework to be managed easily with the use of technology is suddenly way higher up the school agenda. Tools like Homework4 (currently with a free 3 month trial) are likely to be a blessing in months and months and years to come as we all adjust to a new normal.