On Friday, July 17, in response to the growing numbers of confirmed COVID cases statewide, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all public and private K-12 schools in 33 of 58 counties, affecting nearly 80% of all Californians, to begin the school year with distance learning. As we discussed in Managing a return to normal in the time of COVID-19, the labyrinthe of government officials, from federal to state to county to school districts, can create complexity for students and parents in planning for the 2020-21 school year, especially as the COVID-19 virus’ evolution is unpredictable.
Governor Newsom did caveat that state mandates for distance learning may be lifted, if the numbers of confirmed COVID cases in a county dropped below the risk standards and stay below the standards for at least 14 days, then school officials can once again reopen campuses and welcome students and staff back into classrooms.
During conversations with Creative Marbles, many students and parents share their dismay about the potential of school schedules switching weekly between distance learning and in-person classes throughout the 2020-21 school year. The potential back-and-forth schedule is stressful for many parents, who are trying to plan childcare, work schedules, as well as help their children with their learning.
Flexibility will be essential for parents and students, as we, as a society, seek to function normally, but we’re living in an abnormal situation, a global, historic pandemic. The young are still needing education, so they can learn more about their inherent ability to mature into a prosperous adulthood. Yet, the school systems which until March 2020 were defined in one way, may no longer suit the needs of educating youth given the current disruption. So, we have the opportunity to redefine how we educate the young to both ensure the continuity of each student’s education during the evolving global health emergency and beyond.