As the country slowly begins to re-open, people everywhere are looking at schools’ operations for a glimmer of hope as to what the future holds. If schools return to normal then many other industries, presumably, would soon follow. The coronavirus shut down many schools for weeks. Shortly after shutting down, students “returned” to a virtual style of learning, intended to keep students on track, and at the very least, complete the essential curriculum. While it was a quick bandaid to a semi-temporary problem, it proved to be a difficult solution for everyone involved – parents, students, teachers, staff.
As summer begins, so does summer school – and though not nearly as many students who attend during the fall/spring semesters also attend in the summer, these next 8 weeks could potentially show us what the upcoming school year will look like. Let’s take a look at how some states will be tackling summer school this year:
On May 22, TEA updated their guidance for reopening schools. Key considerations include:
- Making in-person attendance optional, as long as academic requirements are satisfied
- No more than eleven individuals should be enclosed together regularly.
- Prioritizing in-person attendance and the availability of on-campus summer school for students:
- With significant academic gaps
- With disabilities or needs that pose additional challenges in a virtual learning environment
- Experiencing homelessness
- Learning English
- Who are younger and whose parents may have a greater need for child care
- In protective day service
- Instruction should be held in spaces so that desk can be placed 6 feet apart
- Avoid groups/pair work that would require students to work closely together
- Students must not be brought together in assemblies, field trips, or other group gatherings outside of their class group
- Gathering outside as much as possible versus inside
- Avoid participating in activities like:
- Playing wind instruments
- Indoor sports
These Texas guidelines are just a few things to take into consideration when summer instruction resumes. To read the full document, click here.
New York released its summer school guidelines on May 19th, outlined as follows:
- Summer school will be offered remotely (virtually)
- Students will have the opportunity to go on self-paced virtual field trips and engage in social-emotional learning activities.
- Students in grades 3-8 who do not “graduate” are required to attend summer school for 6 weeks beginning July 6
- Students in grades 9-12 who receive a grade of “Course in Progress”, or have failed a class will participate in remote learning for the courses they need to earn credit for beginning July 6
- Students with 12-month Individualized Education Program (IEP) Services will participate in remote learning starting beginning July 2
For more details, visit New York’s DOE website here.
Minnesota updated its guidance on May 13th. Districts in Minnesota can run their summer schools “on campus” as long as they follow important safety practices. Key points include:
- Maintain safe program spaces
- Have a plan and prepare
- Promote a safe program environment
- Promote cloth face coverings
- Strategize meal times
- Stagger meal times
- Clean and disinfect between groups
- Plat each meal to serve
- Minimize opportunities for mixing between groups
- Encourage and reinforce social norms and health etiquette
- Promote health checks
- Be mindful of traveling
- Promote a safe workplace for staff and volunteers
For a full breakdown of their guidelines, click here.
The state of Missouri put together an entire task force to plan and prepare their summer school guidelines. Their recommendations are as follows:
- Provide maximum flexibility to schools
- Schools may implement a stacking approach
- No penalty for schools that experience interruption as long as a 120-hour requirement is met.
- Provide clear expectations for summer learning whether on campus or virtual
- Be available to all students
- Regularly have students interact with teachers
- Have content that is equivalent to the same course offered during the regular term
- Provide clear expectations for virtual summer school
- • Use a platform that ensures web accessibility for students with disabilities
More details regarding these recommendations and the full memo can be found here.
Though education agencies operate differently from state to state, it’s clear that maintaining social distancing behaviors and promoting virtual learning are the best ways to keep students from contracting the virus. When in doubt, schools can always refer to the CDC’s considerations for schools.
What do your summer school operations look like?