How do schools rebound from Coronavirus? Various plans are coming out from each district with important differences.
For example, Mentor Public Schools offers two paths—one in which kids go back five days a week and another in which parents keep their children home for all online learning. As things constantly change during this pandemic, we are now hearing it looks like Mentor will be offering a hybrid model for those who want to choose in-person learning.
On the other hand, Akron Public Schools plan is more complex. Five days per week will only be offered to the youngest students. The district’s top option is a hybrid approach for the rest of the kids in which they go to school two days and then they’re home learning three days a week. No final decisions have been made by the board yet.
Is it the right time to go back to school, in-class five days a week? Mentor Public Schools Superintendent William Porter thinks so.
“Based on the survey results, we know the large majority of you will choose to send your children back to us full time,” Porter said in a recent video outlining the district’s plans.
He laid out guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, promised hand washing, extra cleaning and social distancing, but for Shari Matyia it’s not the right time for her kids.
“Just the unknown of everything,” she said. “We just are taking the extra precaution with having them do the first semester online.”
Her son Dean Matyia agrees that the timing just isn’t right.
“I’m pretty nervous about it, going into middle school my first year,” Dean said. “It’s going to be sad but it’s the safest thing to do.”
His sister Jocelyn stands with him, but said the thought of learning at home again is a bit strange.
“It’s going to be weird not seeing my actual teacher and my friends,” Jocelyn said.
Timing can be weird for parents, too, especially working parents.
“I can’t teach what I don’t understand,” said Jennifer Cox. She has four teenagers in the Akron Public Schools district.
She and her husband work full time. She said it’s tough going to work and then playing teacher.
“We went to school, we learned how we learned. We can’t relearn what these kids are learning today because it’s a lot harder, first of all,” Cox said. “I’m thinking that it would be better if they go back to school.”
She said that because her kids struggled in the spring with online learning.
“I think their grades are going to fail,” she said. “Because I know one of my boy’s grades did fail and it got worse after he was put on computers.”
Her son Jimmy Rein didn’t like internet classes.
“It’s hard,” Jimmy said. “It’s better when you've got a teacher in front of you helping you… instead of working on a computer and not knowing what you’re doing because half of the kids don’t know what they’re doing.”
To be honest, nobody knows how their plans will work for students, parents or teachers. This is all new and they’re trying.
Akron is still tweaking its hybrid option.
Some districts are even waiting to see where we are with coronavirus cases before presenting plans for the fall.
So, you see, timing is everything—especially with COVID-19 that is on its own time for now.