Earlier this month, on June 8th, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) finally confirmed their next steps for the reopening of schools in the Fall. This news came only a few short weeks after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their suggested guidelines for how districts can safely implement in school learning once again. Now, not every state is taking the same approach as Massachusetts; In fact, many states are not taking as drastic of measures at all. Currently, an Indianapolis school district plans for students to return to school in August as usual, with an online option for families who are concerned about the spearing of the virus (Belsha). Before panic sets in, we still can’t be certain that this will be how our education system moves forward in the light of the pandemic. So, proceed with caution and with an open mind.
In the initial release statement from the CDC (and then confirmed by the MA DESE), they recommend some of the following steps for schools in order to keep their students and staff safe:
- Teach and reinforce hand washing and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff
- Teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings
- Post signs to promote social distancing
- Discourage the sharing of any objects (ie. Pencils, erasers, laptops, etc.)
- Physical barriers and physical guidelines, like tape on the floor, to ensure students and staff stay 6 feet apart
- Children bring their own supplies and meals (and eat in their classroom instead of the cafeteria)
- Smaller, isolated groups assigned to one teacher
- No gatherings, outside visitors, or field trips
- Screening upon entry to the building
The list goes on and on and I’m sure your thought process has been the same as mine—Is this even feasible? What if someone doesn’t have access to these supplies? What about socialization and learning through play? Well, Massachusetts schools have already established a responsibility upon the school districts to provide supplies. They are also still contemplating a staggered schedule, with some days of in school learning and the remaining days as remote learning. At this point, it’s almost certain we still need to be vigilant with keeping up with our children’s education on our own as best as we can. We also must remain positive and continue to lean on our expert teachers when it comes to learning.
Just remember this, now we have a better idea of what to expect for remote learning and many education companies are preparing to support families and schools with this new “normal.” You’re not in this alone and we will come out stronger. In the meantime, here is a list of ten fun AND educational iPad apps and websites your child can access over the summer (To help you stay sane, keep the boredom at bay, and help your child stay current with their academics):
- ABC Ya! Educational Computer Games: https://www.abcya.com
- Science Kids: https://www.sciencekids.co.nz
- Prodigy Kids Math Game App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/prodigy-kids-math-game/id950795722
- Storyline Online: https://www.storylineonline.net
- Endless Alphabet App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/endless-alphabet/id591626572
- Endless Numbers App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/endless-numbers/id804360921
- Endless Reader App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/endless-reader/id722910739
- Math Bingo App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/math-bingo/id371338715
- Math Learning Center Apps: https://www.mathlearningcenter.org/resources/apps
- Fun Brain: https://www.funbrain.com
Belsha, Kalyn. “Returning to School Buildings in the Fall Will Be Complicated. In Some Places, It’s Far from Clear It Will Happen.” Chalkbeat, Chalkbeat, 29 Apr. 2020, www.chalkbeat.org/2020/4/29/21241856/returning-to-school-buildings-fall-coronavirus.
“Considerations for Schools.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html.
“Guidance on Required Safety Supplies for Re-Opening Schools.” Commissioner’s Weekly Update, Jeffrey C. Riley, 8 June 2020, https://mailchi.mp/doe.mass.edu/commissioners-weekly-update-6-8-20-student-team-building-opportunity-with-commissioner-guidance-on-summer-school-safety-supplies-and-special-ed#guidancesummer.