Hi, from Florida!
Florida has been in the news a lot lately regarding the political decision to force schools to open up brick and mortar. Let’s be clear; this is public schools and I’m a public school teacher that will be sending my children to school this August.
I will be sending my children to school because they attend private school not public schools.
Just last week we received the reopening plan for my daughter’s school. She’ll be going into 1st grade.
The plan is extensive and well thought out; as to be expected from her school.
The plan includes
- Delay start of school by 1 week.
- Stagger start. K-2 comes first day, next day K-5 and lastly K-8.
- No before or aftercare
- Most likely no sports or after school activity
- Masks for students and staff
- Social distancing and minimizing all contact between classes and other staff.
- Temperature checks, health screenings, hand sanitizer stations and professional daily sanitation.
Positive Test Plan
If a student or a member of a student household has a positive test then that student will quarantine for 14 days and use a digital learning platform for school.
If the teacher has a positive test the teacher will quarantine for 14 days and anyone in direct contact will also quarantine for 14 days. Distance learning during this time.
If the department of health recommends any additional closures or suggestions all those will be followed.
I have confidence in my daughter’s school plan to reopen. The school is a private school for grades K to 8 with approximately 350 total students. There are low class size ratio before coronavirus so more space in the class can be accommodated. The grade levels are spaced out in different parts and floors of the building. The school already had professional cleaning and hand washing areas. They have since installed 30 additional sanitizer and hand washing areas in the building and increased the deep cleaning and sanitizing schedule to daily by the professional company.
Selecting the schools my children attend was a significant event in our life. Our zoned public school doesn’t offer what my children need. Both of my children are on scholarship at two different private schools. We love both of the those schools for very different reasons. At these times, we realized the fight to find them the best educational setting has paid off. Our confidence that our safely, health and education will be a priority is within the relationship we built with the schools.
My biggest concern
Returning to work as a high school teacher. Our public high schools have about 1600 to 2000 students per school in the district. I do not know how you successfully distance that many students. I have approximately 150 students a day.
We will not know our plan back to school until the 20th of July. My return to work date is August 3rd.
I’m concerned about my family and how I would miss work if one of my children had to quarantine for 14 days.
What I think is unfair
How do you give parents less than 1 month to make a decision for a semester or a entire school year?
How we do not have an in person graduation in July but next month plan to open schools?
How is it fair to make parents decide to work or home school?
How is it acceptable to risk the health of a child because a parent(s) have to go to a job because they can’t work from home?
How is it fair to have so many at risk and special education students go without numerous services provided by schools?
How is it right that the only way to get free breakfast and lunch is going to be attending school face to face?
There are many more questions and concerns about equity.
My heart breaks for so many parents who don’t know what to choose.
My best advice is to advocate for your child’s needs.
Each of our children will be different and each will have a set of needs.
Look into your family situation and the needs of your children, go to the schools and fight for those needs.
No matter your choice, no matter the reason, you are right.
You are your child’s best advocate.