In our first two articles on learning from COVID-19, we showcased the concerns and considerations of students and teachers in relation to their experiences with reentry to schools in the midst of the pandemic. As school building leaders, principals also have their own set of experiences and thought processes they bring to the table.
It has been more than a month since Wake County Public Schools returned to full-time in-person learning with twice-monthly remote learning days. The turnaround for full reentry came at such a quick pace that there has been little time for teachers and other school personnel to learn and critically evaluate the most effective ways to deliver a hybrid model of learning.
As North Carolina — and the country — debated how and when to return to in-person instruction, the primary focus was often on teachers and adult staff members, as they are more vulnerable than students when it comes to contracting severe cases of COVID-19. But too often, the voices that were noticeably absent were those of students themselves.
Amid all the discussions about getting kids back into the classrooms there has been little focus of what schools will look like next fall and what students will need to recover. However, throughout the COVID-19 ordeal, there has been plenty of discussion about learning loss, lack of equity, and the social and emotional health of students.
As calls from state leaders increase and legislation advances in the NC General Assembly for public schools to quickly return to in-person classroom instruction, WakeEd urged state and local leaders to move educators up to a higher priority for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Schools should be open to students. That’s it, plain and simple. There is no replacement for high-quality, in-person instruction, despite a tremendous effort by teachers to keep learning going while students can’t be on campus.