The back to school season for the 2020-2021 school year has been an experience unlike anything most of us can remember. Rather than worrying about pencil cases and shoes, children and their parents are frantically choosing masks, adjusting to hybrid schedules, and mastering the art of learning virtually.
Now that many students around the country have been back in school for a few weeks, it’s a good time to revisit what we know (and still need to understand) about back to school safety.
Sold Out Items: How to Find What You Need
Having trouble finding the best school device for your kids? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Chromebooks sold out nearly overnight after schools and colleges announced virtual learning plans.
Through Chromebooks are fan favorites because they’re so sleek and easy to use, a few Chromebook alternatives are out there to satisfy your tech needs during COVID-19 and beyond.
First, you can try downloading Neverware onto your child’s current laptop. Neverware creates its own Chrome OS environment that can be installed on outdated or non-Chromebooks. It’s user-friendly, free, and reliable.
If you need more than a software solution, but you aren’t looking to spend much, consider a refurbished Chromebook or other similar laptop. It’s the same concept as purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. So why not save money and get what you need without delay?
Parents: Tips for Navigating Remote Learning
Remote learning hasn’t just required a learning curve for students; parents have also been trying their best to keep up with the new reality of education in America. If the thought of one more day of virtual learning fills you with dread and anxiety, try these tips to navigate a more productive and successful remote learning experience:
- Create a designated learning space for your children. This space should be separate from where they normally play or watch TV, if possible.
- Give your children a “digital recess” every day to get physical activity and fresh air.
- Continue to encourage print and book reading as a break from the digital world.
- Set a routine that mimics the school day- practice makes perfect!
Have School-Related Outbreaks Started?
How worried should you be about the potential of COVID-19 in your child’s school? There’s’ no easy way to answer that question, except to take a look at what’s happening around the country.
In Utah, the state’s largest teacher’s union recently demanded that Governor Gary Herbert create “clear, enforceable requirements” for schools ignoring state health guidelines. More than 15 students and staff at three high schools tested positive for the virus, but the boards for each school district initially voted not to shut down.
“Teachers reported to work believing Utah Health Department guidelines would be followed,” the union wrote to Herbert. Now, though, the letter added: “We are hearing from many teachers who say they feel helpless, disrespected and unsafe.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York seems to feel it is inevitable as well. Referencing outbreaks on college campuses across the U.S, Cuomo said, “I believe colleges are the canary in the coal mine. What we’re seeing in colleges I think is going to be replicated in K–12.”
For now, the safest course of action is to follow social distancing guidelines and make the choices that you feel are best for your family.