When the 2020-21 school year begins, most CSF Scholars will have the option of returning to their schools in-person, five days a week, although in the case of schools that don’t have enough space to accommodate all students at the same time, a hybrid model will be employed, with children rotating between in-person and remote learning. Some families will still opt for full-time remote learning from home.
CSF Scholars attend schools of all types, but many common themes emerge in the schools’ plans for this fall. For example, in New York City, one of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic:
- Schools have been preparing their buildings for the fall: investing in personal protective equipment, undertaking deep-cleaning and painting projects; developing updated cleaning and sanitizing protocol; testing ventilation systems, and installing social distancing posters and floor stickers throughout their schools.
- Technology has been updated to allow for remote learning for those who choose to learn from home. Some schools will have cameras in the classroom so students learning remotely can follow along with their class.
- Plans for monitoring students’ health have been developed, including daily temperature checks.
- Along with in-person teaching plans, schools are also planning for school-wide remote learning in case they are forced to close their doors again.
For example, at the Learning Tree Cultural Preparatory School in the Bronx, Principal Lois Gregory tells us every aspect of schooling has been considered. The building has been painted and professionally sanitized. New touchless soap and paper towel dispensers have been installed, as well as plastic screens around students’ desks. All internal doors will be left open to avoid the need for multiple hands to touch door handles, and each child’s desk will have his or her own school supplies, including items such as crayons which previously were shared.
You can read the Archdiocese of New York’s comprehensive reopening plan here and watch a video with examples of what the new post-pandemic classrooms look like.
Partnership Schools, with seven schools in Harlem and the South Bronx, issued a reopening guide detailing plans including a sanitization specialist at each school, responsible for cleaning high-touch areas throughout the day and trained to operate electrostatic misting machines. Schools will have large tents in playgrounds, allowing for some outdoor teaching and protection from the elements during recess.
A brand new virtual school, St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Academy, will serve Brooklyn and Queens Catholic school families who prefer a full-time remote learning option this fall. Most Brooklyn and Queens Catholic schools are offering full five-day weeks, and those with less space for distancing will adopt a hybrid model. You can watch a video detailing the Brooklyn/Queens reopening plan here.
Our hats go off to all the school faculty and staff who are doing everything possible to make the 2020-21 school year safe and productive for all the children they serve. We look forward to sharing updates from CSF Scholars as they go back to school!