As the state of Pennsylvania begins to prepare to slowly reopen after it hit the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a priority for many to get back to school. As Governor Wolf stated his red light-green light phases plan to reopen, it is clear that schools across the state cannot reopen until their region reaches the “green” phase. This is the phase that comes with no restrictions outside of state and federal recommendations.
While there are significant requirements that must be met before we reach that point, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education is beginning to look towards what schools will look like when it comes time to open. According to Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, students, parents, and teachers should expect things to look different.
“We’re looking at a hybrid staggered model that addresses not only the academic needs of students but also their health needs as well, and I would encourage parents to think the same way,” Rivera stated on the topic. This could mean students may need to wear masks in addition to sitting in on smaller class sizes. In addition to this, transportation, delivering lunch, and school events may change in order to reduce the size of crowds at any given time. Rivera went on to say it could be “not like the schools we participated in just over a month ago.”
When in-person instruction does resume, Rivera says that the Coronavirus will have to change the ways schools continue to operate. As there are bound to be educational backslides, schools and districts will have to help students readjust after months of being out of the traditional system. Deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education backed up this statement in saying, “As we head into next year, our hope is that schools are in a place where we return to standardized assessments … and can use them as an important metric in continuous improvement.”
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