5 Things Parents Might Want to Know About Schools Reopening


What will school look like this fall? Will we have to continue distance learning from home or will children be able to resume in-person classes? If students are able to return in-person, what types of health and safety changes will be made to protect families? For parents, there are so many questions and so few answers about what the future holds. And while every school is different, Macon Finley, Head of The Ellis School, an all-girls private school in Pittsburgh, is sharing five things parents should know about the behind-the-scenes work happening at schools right now. 


1. Health and Safety are Their First Priority

Schools are planning for the future under uncertainty right now which is a challenge for both administrators and parents. There are a lot of competing priorities to consider, but none that are as important as the well-being of the student body and their teachers. School administrators and leaders are keeping this top of mind as they make decisions about the fall, and are considering numerous scenarios and modes of learning for their students. They are working tirelessly, in an ever-changing landscape, to figure out back-to-school plans that are safe and responsible for everyone.

2. School is Going to Look Different

The reality is that school is likely to look a lot different for everyone this year. There are going to be screening measures, enhanced sanitization practices, social distancing recommendations, and numerous constraints schools will have to plan around for the coming school year. Students may no longer be able to go on field trips, travel from classroom to classroom for different courses, congregate in large groups, or mix with other grade-levels. Students may need to attend classes in new spaces (think gyms, auditoriums, and outdoor spaces) as schools will have to think creatively about how they can safely reopen. 

3. Access for Compromised Students 

Regardless of how confined reopening plans are for the fall, there will still likely be some students who may not be able to attend school due to legitimate health concerns that prevent them from being in a group setting. Schools are now figuring out how they can provide access to those students and calling upon the knowledge they gained during remote learning to do so.

4. They’re Preparing to Be Flexible, Just Like You

Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball that can predict the future—so schools, just like everyone else, will have to be flexible and adaptable. If your school is welcoming students back to campus in the fall, administrators are also likely making plans that will allow them to switch back to remote learning quickly if needed. Whether it’s a positive case of coronavirus on campus or an influx of cases in the area, some schools in some areas may have to shift between on campus and remote learning depending on the situation at hand. For parents, it’s a good idea to keep up with school communications throughout the summer. Assume that as a parent you may  have to operate in multiple modes this year without much warning, and give yourself grace as you navigate the unknowns of this new normal.

5. The Transition May  Be Bumpy

For kids and parents, the transition back to school may not come without some bumps in the road. After spending many months together at home, it may be difficult for some children to find their footing again in social situations at school. Younger students in particular may experience separation anxiety. And students of different ages may regress in some ways, showing behaviors parents haven’t seen for a while. Children are incredibly observant and will pick up on the cues they read from their parents’ behavior. This is a great time for all the adults in their lives to model flexibility, patience and good humor as we all navigate these transitions together. 


Are you interested in learning more about The Ellis School and its in-person and remote learning plans?

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