As the US school reopening debate rages on, conflicting concerns around the safety of teachers, students and parents; the need for parents to get back to work; and children’s development is a lot to balance.
Those concerns, combined with the huge variation in how US states are dealing with Covid-19, means schools are facing some serious stumbling blocks along their way to reopening. Teachers have been posting photos online to show us what schools of the future are looking like. Here’s what we learned – but please share your concerns, experiences or projections about what your schools will look like in the comments.
No room to play for kindergarten students
One of the biggest worries about reopening schools has been how to keep students – particularly young children who love to run around, touching everyone and everything – socially distanced and safe. In one school in Florida, physically partitioning students will be the new normal.
This is a kindergarten classroom inside Garden City Elementary School in Wayne Township where the new school year starts today. We’ll take a look at the other big changes being made due to COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/BJDQ3x7r5w— Matt McCutcheon (@matt_mccutcheon) August 12, 2020
Out with the old …
While many have complained about US schools being chronically underfunded, Covid-19 has put space constraints on classrooms, meaning that valuable equipment has to be torn out. In this Indiana school, that means saying goodbye to an entire lab.
Miss Zarate leading tech class. The lab was torn out due to COVID. Students now bring down their classroom devices. pic.twitter.com/XpJ8qAPFIx— TAZ the Red Devil (@TAZtheRedDevil) August 13, 2020
Desperate times, desperate measures
Desperate times call for desperate measures: for this New York teacher, that means using a shower curtain as a protective covering for the class bookcase.
Never did I ever think I’d be covering my classroom library with a shower curtain 😅 pic.twitter.com/SRFfdsv0SA— Lesley Snyder (@lesleymsnyder) August 11, 2020
Out of sight but not out of mind
While school staff are having to be creative to keep everybody safe, they are also having to constantly readjust. In this Florida classroom, one teacher spoke about trying to find a way for her students to see the board when their desks are bracketed by black-framed dividers. “I LOVE teaching but this is not what teaching is supposed to be like,” she said.
First look at my classroom since March 6, 2020. It’s like it was frozen in time. Now there are these obtrusive black barriers on some of the desks and that is the only change I see with the exception of the water fountain covered up with a black garbage bag. #livesoverlessons pic.twitter.com/qQAiyqgDSh— Florida gal (@kelkenney0427) August 12, 2020
Teachers buying their own supplies
Teachers have complained about having to buy their own supplies – sometimes even crowdfunding for personal protective equipment (PPE). In this case, a Miami teacher has resorted to buying her own hand soap.
The past few times I’ve gone to my classroom there’s been NO SOAP🤯 luckily got my hands on some at the dollar tree after having no luck finding any. Now I gotta hide my stash🤫 pic.twitter.com/1IToBKPps0— Ms. Nelson (@MsNelson305) August 10, 2020
Do not cross
Using police “do not cross” tape is certainly one way to go about designating appropriate space in a classroom