This is a wacky and wild time to end the 19/20 school year. As we all push forward into summer from a break that started for many of us before Spring Break, the global pandemic has been surreal. Things that we never gave a lot of thought to (like toilet paper) is now top of mind awareness. There is uncertainty heading into the summer with a lot of wonder of how things will work when school resumes in the fall.
There is a lot of speculation that is happening with what reopening in the fall will look like. Things that we can count on: schools will reopen and there will be changes.
Plan on wearing a mask. There are a lot of unknown variables when it comes to what will be required at school, but all of the scenarios currently require the students, teachers, and staff to wear a mask.
Plan on getting your temperature taken. The facilities at Amazon are using a rapid thermal check for all of their employees upon entry. It is safe to say that schools will likely follow suit with some kind of temperature station for students and staff as they arrive.
Plan on being enlisted to help with the constant sanitizing of the classrooms. Schools will be outfitting classrooms with sanitizing stations. This means that every desk and table will need to wiped down with sanitizer every time someone new is going to use it. Schools will likely be adding hand sanitizer at the entrances of their classrooms so people can sanitize during the day.
Plan on starting school later than in years that have passed. The state of California requires that school starts no later than September 30. Many schools will delay start dates in hopes of letting the virus run more of its course so more normalcy can be given to the kids. (Encore High School starts September 14 opposed to August 8 in recent years.)
The rest of the requirements will vary dependent on school, county, and really how the Coronavirus behaves over summer. School officials are scrambling to create a viable plan that will give students continuity and a solid education, but without funding and some restrictions being changed (like instructional minute requirements) the rest of the plan will continue to unfold over the coming weeks. Major changes to education including new attendance programming will emerge from this global pandemic.
How is Encore High School preparing for the fall?
There are a lot of pieces that put Encore ahead of the game. As shown in how Encore was able to adapt to Distance learning very quickly, preparing for the fall will continue on the same lines. As guidelines and directives unfold, Encore will add to the fall plans.
School starts later this year - Encore has historically started during the second week of August. This year, Encore has delayed starting the school year until September 14. To keep the calendar with similar end dates as this year, Encore is giving up the third week of winter break and the second week of spring break so school will end on June 18, 2021 rather than in July.
School starts later this year - On top of the calendar starting later, school will be starting later. To help make sure Encore can implement whatever measures needed to take temperatures of staff and students (and being proactive for the 21/22 mandate) instructional minutes at Encore start at 8:25 am next year. Nutrition will start at 8:00 am so students can come to eat, but the first class of the day will start at 8:25 am.
One to One Technology - Encore implemented one on one technology at the beginning of the 19/20 school year so all students are equipped with their own laptop computer to be able to complete their schoolwork.
Zoom and In Person Classes - During the shutdown of California, Encore's teaching staff was given extensive training and then went live with Zoom classes from March 30 - May 22. Portions of the Zoom model will continue this fall for students that are Distance Learning, Independent Study, and tutoring.
Three Attendance Models - Encore offers three separate ways to complete school: Traditional seat based program (5 days per week), Hybrid Study (2-3 days per week), and Independent Study (3 hours per week)
Arts Festivities, Productions, and Competitions - Encore is planning to resume all of the outward arts programs during second semester (virus permitting) and spending the first semester prepping for a packed second semester. First semester will be concentrating on individual mastery.
The rest really depends on how the virus spreads during the summer. Encore will follow all guidelines from the CDC and will take cues from governing authorities. It is a crazy time that we live in. As the world starts to reopen, we will learn how the fall will unfold and how education will adapt. Stay tuned!
Petey the Pirate is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's Arts program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Transportation is available through the Inland Empire (15 and 215 freeway) and the high desert. www.encorehighschool.com. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredtied. Copyright 2020.