Since early in the pandemic, teachers, administrators, parents, and students have been called upon to do things differently. At first, there were band-aids put in place just to try to make it to the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Surely the pandemic would be only a temporary inconvenience.
By the start of the 2020-2021 school year, schools around the country were beginning to look toward the longer term. They adopted new procedures and methods of instruction; they were ready to move forward and make the best of a difficult situation, whether in a remote environment, on campus with social distancing and mask requirements, or vacillating somewhere in between.
Now we’ve come to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The normalcy we thought would return is in doubt with the surge of the Delta variant and COVID case numbers in children on the rise. So what happens now?
As we face the new challenges of this school year, we have the opportunity to use what we’ve built and learned to take the next step in keeping students and their families connected to their school communities—no matter the circumstance. These relationships are crucial to making sure students stay engaged this year, and they will be key to closing the learning gaps that have emerged during COVID.
We just have to be smart about how we apply our assets to facilitate connections that matter.
Leaning into digital education—but missing communication
Technology has been instrumental in enabling learning to happen throughout the pandemic and its ever-changing conditions. The adoption of tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and expanded learning management system (LMS) capabilities helped provide new ways to deliver class curriculum to students when in-person was not an option.
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