School in the time of Corona

If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or caregiver of a school-age kiddo, I guarantee I know what’s on your mind right now: what are schools doing this fall?

For us personally, we have about a week until we find out what our Olentangy schools will be like in the fall. The governor and state health department aren’t helping much – they gave a few generic guidelines, but are leaving the details up to Ohio’s 600 local school districts.

All the parents I know are in a tizzy because a hybrid schooling model, which seems to be the clearest way to keep kids, staff and faculty safe(r) from the virus, is also the hardest on solo and dual-career parents. It will cause never-before seen levels of difficulty for those who have to juggle jobs, childcare and home schooling.

Because of that, there is a very vocal contingent within our district fighting hard to make it known that they want schools open and “back to normal” in August. The trouble with that perspective is that with this virus, nothing is “normal” – and it very likely never will be again, whether people want to believe that or not.

Different approaches

We know that Columbus City Schools is recommending a hybrid or “blended learning” approach with students in school half the time, then doing remote or home-based learning the other half. They were the first to announce a plan, even before Governor DeWine shared the state’s guidelines.

Upper Arlington schools is reportedly leaving it up to parents to choose either full-time at school OR full-time remote learning, based on what they feel is safest and best for their kids and their situation. Worthington schools put out a well-written blog post explaining the rationale behind their three possible scenarios, but have yet to decide which they’re going with.

Our German daughter is back at school already in her country, and her school went with a one week on, one week at home learning approach. It seems that schools all over the world are dealing with the same decision: how best to provide education safely in the time of Covid-19. There are no easy answers.

What do the kids think?

In light of all the swirling options and opinions about what’s best for our kids this August, I went straight to a key stakeholder to find out her take. Yep, that’s right, I interviewed our 10 year old daughter. She’s smart, has her own opinions and offers valid rationale to back up her views. Unlike some adults!

If you’d like to see the full interview, I posted it on Facebook – and it’s worth a watch. Bottom line, Zoe prefers the hybrid learning approach and hopes for 2-3 days a week at school and the other days at home for remote learning.

She says that she’s less stressed and more relaxed on her school days at home, but that she misses her teachers and friends a lot so she’d like to be at the school at least a couple of days a week.

I think that sounds like an ideal scenario for the kids too, other than the stress it places on parents to find childcare and/or help with home schooling in between grown-up jobs and other responsibilities.

Interestingly, the ideal approach Zoe describes for her schooling is almost identical to the way I prefer to work: several days a week in an office with peers and teammates, and a couple of days at home to focus and really get stuff done. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this case!

We will find out our fates – and what the coming school year looks like – on July 13. When do you find out about yours, and what’s your prediction? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or over on Facebook.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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