August 6, 2020
Preparing for Back to School in the Age of COVID-19
There is no longer any doubt: the 2020 school year is going to look very different. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our lives as we strive to protect the most vulnerable, but that also means that our children will need to alter the way they live and learn for the foreseeable future. So how is that going to look in Asheville and what alternatives do parents have? Let’s take a closer look.
City and County Schools
There are a lot of unknowns about sending kids, and teachers, back to school. Debates are going on across the county including this article and the professors at Georgia Tech, a state school, concerned about the Governor’s reopening plan in Georgia. The truth is, there are a lot of moving parts in terms of COVID-19 and so much we still don’t know. But what we do know is that it’s highly contagious, easy to transmit between people, and it puts people at risk.
The plans for North Carolina schools were announced on Tuesday July 14th. Governor Cooper indicated that a hybrid approach would be implemented statewide.
Private schools, however, have another set of requirements. Not beholden to state mandates, they can make their plans for reopening to keep students, teachers, and families safe in the coming school year.
Some private schools have also not issued their plans for the year and that isn’t sitting well with a lot of parents. Determining creative solutions for education should be their top priority moving forward. Uncertainty breeds anxiety, so communication is the most important thing any private school can provide.
Homeschooling or Unschooling
Some parents are turning to alternatives such as homeschooling or unschooling to teach their children at home for the 20/21 school year.
Homeschooling can be mediated by parents at home and can be student lead, depending on the age and abilities of the child, or more formalized. Unschooling, which is similar, advocates for learner-chosen activities. This means children of any age can learn at their level and the curriculum is based on their interests and abilities.
Some communities are choosing a Homeschool Co-Op approach to the 20/21 school year. This is where neighbors pool their resources to ensure that children are meeting the education requirements and still getting social interaction.
In the case of COVID-19, these can be very informal approaches. If one parent on the block has a fitness background, they can host a gym class in their backyard every day. Another parent may excel at math or art and take on those roles.
A Hybrid School Approach
Some communities are expecting a hybrid approach for the school year. As long as it’s safe to do so, students can be in school part-time and learning from home the remainder of the time. This can keep classes small to encourage social distancing.
While this may be a reasonable approach, we do have to turn back to infection rate to see if it’s feasible to have kids, and their teachers, in the classroom starting as soon as this fall.
What are your hopes for the 20/21 school year in WNC? GoPrime of West Asheville is here to serve the community and while we’re not involved in the school decisions, we want to support families and educators during this time.
If you want to take the first step to buy a house or refinance, call Zachery Adam at GoPrime Mortgage in West Asheville today.
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