As the new 2020-21 school year dawns, parents’ and students’ sentiments are mixed. While no one wants to acquire the virus, a source of much misery, distance learning—an oxymoronic concept as knowledge acquistion requires a trust that, initially, is most effectively established when there’s the least amount of physical distance between student and teacher—a continued sequestering, with the attendant sufferings of isolation and “not getting what one wants”, is far from a panacea for many families.
Parents are dismayed at the lack of socialization and subsequent emotional toll as their children’s seclusion extends, as well as are stressed trying to balance parenting, now including teaching, possibly with the need to work in order to maintain their own professional careers, all while managing a household now under duress.
I could adapt the meme to also convey the following:
Colleges: please confirm if you will pay your housing contract for the entire year, even though you may not choose to live on campus right now since all classes are online, otherwise face a waitlist and lack of guaranteed housing in the subsequent terms, should we resume in person instruction during the 2020-21 school year, and good luck contacting “customer service” in case you have any questions or concerns.
Colleges: register for your classes, although we may change instructional models on you at any time, following the University of Southern California (USC) and Princeton examples, who in the weeks before the new semester is scheduled to commence, tore up the earlier script, a hybrid model with limited on campus residency. The latest iteration of a 2020-21 management plan, that is also subject to change on a moment’s notice if mandated by public health decree, is instruction with on-campus residency only by exception, and yet, you will still be required to pay most, if not all, tuition, which at USC includes a 3.5% COVID or not increase, for what is obviously a less-than-expected college experience.
And obviously, few want back to school to look like this:
However, even amidst the distress, educators may be creative if they have to return to the classroom:
Finally, in the 2020-21 school year, a year without precedent, for where struggle to define a meaning educational experience is a given, a golden opportunity arises in our midst to rewrite our own and collective vision for what defines our journey in search of wisdom that is inherent in the totality of our experience.
Jill Yoshikawa EdM, a University of California San Diego and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how she can assist your family through the COVID-disrupted 2020-21 school year.