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Heading back into your building this fall can be a mix of emotions, including concern for the safety and well-being of yourself and your students. With a lack of clarity on a national level, state and local governments have been creating mandates and recommendations for how to return to school safely.
Even within states, inequitable funding and access to resources have made it difficult to standardize any specific practice. As a result, districts are creating operational plans based on a few mandates and a lot of recommendations.
Considering the CDC guidelines and because schools are all over in what they can provide staff and students, some ideas might be more possible and relevant to you than others. Unfortunately, some of these suggestions also fly in the face of building relationships with students and creating a more positive learning environment. Other ideas will replace instructional minutes. While this can be challenging and counter everything you’ve learned about teaching and learning, these ideas prioritize safety above anything else.
Start by preparing yourself to be in your space, which will likely feel and maybe look different than when you left it. You might experience a lot of “what ifs” and anxieties. Your school might have daily changes to their plans, which can be overwhelming. Through all of the unknowns, try to establish a daily routine to help you feel as comfortable as possible.
***The following are solely ideas and suggestions that may or may not be practical for your classroom. They are not mandates or sanctified by any individual or AOEU.***
Going back into the classroom might come with fear, frustration, and concerns for the safety and health of everyone involved. Establishing a routine for yourself can help you address some of your concerns daily and give you some peace of mind that you’re doing what you can to mitigate risk. Some procedures might take a few rounds to figure out the best approach before you can settle into a groove. During this difficult time, allow artmaking to take a back seat as you focus on the health and safety of you and your students. This back-to-school season will be one for the books, but that won’t stop us from making the best of our individual situations!
What specific guidelines are you following?
What would you add to this list?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.