Last March, schools around the world and across the U.S. came to a halt as COVID-19 began its spread. By April, many school districts had closed, leaving teachers and staff to hastily make the switch to online learning.
Many schools are set to continue distance-learning programs as the 2020-2021 school year begins. But others are preparing to re-open for in-person instruction.
This includes many schools throughout the state of New York.
Keep reading to learn how New York schools are preparing to re-open this Fall.
Governor Announces Schools Can Re-open
On Friday, August 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that schools across the state can re-open this Fall for in-person learning.
Prior to this announcement, there was a lot of debate about what schools would do. Many wondered whether in-person learning would be allowed at all.
But the Governor decided it would be. He has allowed districts to begin filing plans for how their individual schools will choose to operate.
Each District Is Making Their Own Decisions
Districts have started making decisions about their re-opening plans.
But, each district must submit an outline of their plan if they did want to have some in-person courses.
Their plans will need to include guidelines for every school in their district. This includes everything from elementary schools and middle schools to high schools.
These plans need to be filed by Friday, August 14. Schools that did not meet that deadline cannot hold in-person courses this Fall. Instead, they would need to do online learning for all their students. at least until the start of 2021.
As of Monday, August 10, more than 100 schools had not filed plans.
Some Schools Delay Until Later This Fall
Some school districts in New York, as well as elsewhere in the country, have decided to postpone the first day of school until later in the year.
Because the virus is still spreading at an alarming rate, especially in New York, these schools are hoping that by late September or October, that spread will have slowed. Some may even be holding out hope that there will be a vaccine available by then.
Rather than committing to starting the year with remote learning, these districts have chosen to simply push back their timeline.
If the virus is still spreading come September and October, these schools may choose to switch to remote learning, or else hold in-person classes but with a modified format and schedule.
Remote Learning Is a Popular Choice
Remote learning has been a popular choice for many school districts across the country. In some instances, schools are giving students and their parents the choice between in-person lessons or online learning.
It's likely that some school districts in New York will do the same.
There are a number of reasons for giving students and parents this choice.
To start, children with underlying medical conditions that could put them at an increased risk of contracting the virus can choose to continue to learn from home.
The same goes for children who live in a household with adults or other children with underlying conditions. Going to school could lead to the child bringing home the virus and infecting other members of their household.
Because a portion of students is likely to choose online learning, making this choice available also means fewer students in the schools. This helps make social distancing much easier in classrooms.
Masks, Social-Distancing, and Sanitizing Practices in Place
With school districts now allowed to hold in-person learning this Fall, districts that are choosing to do so are now working on plans to keep their staff and students safe and healthy.
This means requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, and increasing cleaning and sanitization.
Getting students, and especially young students, onboard with these measures is a challenge that most officials are already anticipating.
Luckily, there are some promising techniques out there to help children adjust so that they can get back to learning in real classrooms again.
Schools are shifting classrooms to allow more space between desks. Many are planning routes through hallways to keep classes moving around from running into one another.
Some districts and teachers plan to have their students wear their face masks attached to lanyards. That way when they remove them to eat a snack or get a drink, the masks won't wind up on their desk or the floor.
They'll also be in easy reach when they're ready to put it back on.
New mask styles and designs are also making face coverings more comfortable and breathable for kids, which makes it easier for them to forget they're wearing them and focus on learning instead.
Fun colors and patterns certainly don't hurt with that either!
How New York Schools Are Re-opening This Fall
New York schools, like all other districts across the U.S. and around the world, are facing some tough decisions.
While COVID-19 is still a very real threat, many have raised concerns about the long-term effects that not going to school can have on children.
For many kids, school is one of the only sources of socialization they receive. From a very young age, going to class and interacting with teachers and other students helps them develop social skills, learn how to follow rules, and build habits that will help them to be successful later in life.
If you have a child who is set to go back to school this Fall, check out our selection of kids face masks to find patterns and colors your little one will love to wear.