March, 2020. Schools everywhere found themselves asking the same question: how do we continue to educate during unprecedented circumstances?
Over the next two years, we were continuously adjusting to an ever-evolving environment, and found out some interesting things regarding our schools and procedures.
Initial Shutdown of Schools
During this time, districts gathered to organize their thoughts. Plans were created for continued learning, transportation, food service, etc. Moving forward, contracts with providers need to account for unforeseen instances.
Social Distancing vs. Full Remote
Without federal guidance, school districts were left to make decisions based on the opinions of their region. Instituting a distancing policy raised a number of concerns:
Do we have the space to have all of the students back?
Do we have to bring them back in shifts?
The value of having up to date capacity studies and accurate floor plans proved invaluable during this planning phase.
Several districts were incapable of providing enough bandwidth for their teachers to stream live from their classrooms simultaneously. The pandemic highlighted the importance of 1 to 1 learning, and the need to remain technologically relevant.
Schools with flexible furniture and layouts were able to adjust quickly to ever-changing guidelines, such as reduced distancing, masking requirements, and students who request hybrid learning.
The Mask Effect
The difficulty recognizing faces highlighted shortcomings in many schools’ security systems. Schools were able to implement better visitor management protocols in the name of Covid. Bus security was also addressed.
Staff and students transitioned to the new normal, and choices were provided for those families and staff members that remained uncomfortable.
Today, thanks to measured and studied responses, we will be better prepared for the uncertainties of the future.