The Challenges of Reopening Schools in Times of Pandemic
November 24, 2020
An article by Alison Suffet-Diaz was recently published in The Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly. The piece titled "Mission Impossible? Preparing to Reopen Schools During a Global Pandemic"
expands on the work that members of Environmental Charter Schools have set out to do to keep their lesson plans running in the face of a global pandemic.
Through the collective effort of leaders, teachers, and staff, the 2020 – 2021 school year has begun to take form with a number of improvements destined to assist ECS students, many of whom come from modest backgrounds with limited resources to afford permanent internet access. Months of effort and research yielded a school plan comprised of four phases and seven baseline expectations to meet in advance.
One notable feature is the implementation of new technologies to perfect ECS's distance learning program. A wide range of digital channels have been opened to maintain communication with students, parents, and staff members. In addition, ECS has partnered with Google to provide over 350 Chromebooks, 47 hotspots, and free home internet services for students to continue their learning progress without delay.
Under the limitations forced upon schools by the COVID-19 pandemic, nurturing a sense of belonging in students has been hard, but the ECS team has stepped up to the challenge. They continue working to make their online platform accessible for students and parents while planning for a prospective hybrid (in-person/distance) learning approach. Abiding by the restrictions implemented for schools in Los Angeles county, ECS is overseeing plans to preserve the student's connection with the school, with a special focus on newly enrolled students still waiting for the chance to get familiar with the campus. Some of these plans involve field trips in which a reduced number of students can partake in a variety of learning and counseling activities within the facilities.
ESC strives to remain a source of support for students as they create a balance between their learning responsibilities and the struggles of this new reality. While there are still many uncertainties to work through, the members of ESC are committed to staying ahead of whatever change the pandemic might bring and will continue adapting their plans to ease the students' burdens.
To read the complete article visit: catalyst.greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org