Were Schools Ready for a Pandemic ?
Was anyone ready for this pandemic?
Are schools getting ready to serve children in the pandemic?
Our American public schools have to be ready for just about any eventuality and sadly in recent history, even for school shootings. For years, those of us who lead schools work to plan to create safe environments where children can learn and develop as human beings and citizens. The work we do and planning is ever changing as the needs and contexts change in society.
The recent pandemic has set us into action getting ready to keep children safe while supporting their learning and development. We will meet this challenge by planning, learning, engaging the community, iterating, innovating, and caring deeply about the work we do.
I think it’s important for the public to know how we are planning as well as the dynamics and conditions that we are required to respond to as we plan. Each school District in California is working with their board of trustees and community to meet the challenge at the same time as responding to regularly changing guidance, budgets, and requirements from state, federal, and county governmental agencies. These governmental dynamics are evolving and changing weekly. In this context, school Districts are planning for safe learning models and re-planning each time the dynamics change.
This planning environment is similar to war planning but it is very unfamiliar to most people who have families and children and want to know now how things will be so they can plan their own lives. As such, school Districts are planning and looking forward to the time and moment when federal, state, and county guidance will be more concrete and clear. This time may come very close to the beginning of the new 2020/21 school year and even more problematic, is likely to be susceptible to change at any time that the pandemic outcomes change. The virus, it seems, does not cater to calendar or schedules.
School leaders recognize this state of affairs is stressing and challenging for everyone involved, most especially families and children. We want all children and families to know and count on us to provide the safest and best possible learning environments and processes. We will make this happen and we will work diligently all summer to increase the quality and quantity of our communication with everyone so people can know as much as possible about what to expect for the coming school year.
We will be ready in 2020/21. We will provide safe, quality learning environments and opportunities. We know that the school-student-family relationship is even more critical for children in these pandemic times but we also know that our community is strong and caring and resilient and will rally together with teachers and school leaders to do what is right for every child. Our goal is to provide a clear plan to the community by August 3, 2020 so families have a few weeks to consider their next steps in educating their children during these pandemic times.