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Hybrid Learning for the Fall: What We Know So Far

06/30/2020

Earlier this month, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) released a survey that showed that an overwhelming 94 percent of K-12 superintendents in the U.S. are not ready to announce when their schools will reopen or resume in-person instruction. As the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States tops 2.5 million (and counting), what is becoming clear is that most districts in the U.S. will be looking to implement hybrid learning for the fall, combining both remote and in-person instruction.

Many students will be required to wear masks when they are allowed to go back to school . Many districts will require children to have their temperature taken when they enter a bus or school building. However, no one knows how these measures will work in practice to prevent COVID-19 spreading at school.

What we do know is that the 2020-21 school year will be unlike any that we’ve seen before. That’s why many schools are following state guidelines that call for varying instruction options for the fall including in-person, hybrid and remote.

Many states offer guidance for hybrid learning in the fall

The CDC has offered national guidelines schools to consider, but actual decisions on when and how to re-open schools has been left to each state. In many states, school re-opening guidelines are unclear at best.

In Texas, where the COVID-19 toll is on the rise, officials have delayed an announcement of school reopening guidelines. However, the Texas Tribune reports, a draft plan has shown the state taking a light-handed role in coronavirus prevention measures, with masks and social distancing not mandatory.

Florida has announced that it plans to re-open schools for summer and fall learning, meanwhile allocating millions of dollars of CARES Act funding directly to its schools.

On June 8, California released guidelines for reopening schools that recommend limiting the number of students physically on campus, and urged them to consider strategies like hybrid learning. So far, it appears many districts in California are headed towards a hybrid model, with a slight catch: the state is  emphasizing offering in-person instruction “to the greatest extent possible.” While some colleges in the state are taking all instruction online for the fall, this isn’t the same for K-12, and the state is requiring that schools will need to offer daily live instruction and regular communication with parents in order to receive state funding for the upcoming school year.

The case for Illinois: No two districts are the same

In Illinois, Governor J.B Pritzer recently released guidelines for schools which allow students to return to the classroom in the coming year. The guidelines strongly encourage schools to provide in-person instruction, especially for students under age 13. In addition to this plan, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, and limit the number of gathering to 50.

Despite the state’s guidelines, Tim McIlvain, Director of the Learning Technology Center at Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP), says that no two districts in Illinois are planning for the fall in the same way. “Plans for addressing student services, transportation, food services, extracurricular activities, personnel issues, and family engagement vary by region and district,” he said. “Some districts are adjusting scheduling or removing classroom furniture to maximize social distancing, while others are considering dividers around desks and allowing parents to opt-in to full remote instruction. Despite the differences, a commonality is that each district is carefully considering how to best serve their students, families, and communities.”

Regardless of their districts’ decision, some parents in Illinois are still considering home school, reports the Chicago Tribune.

How Impero can help

Many U.S. school districts are still facing budget cuts that make it difficult to plan for the 2020-21 school year. That’s why Impero is working closely with many school districts without a classroom management solution in place to implement Impero Education Pro.

Impero Education Pro combines tools for online safety, teacher control, session tracking and real-time monitoring for student devices, regardless if those devices are on or off school campuses. Impero Education Pro makes it easy for teachers to see a live thumbnail view of students’ devices, share their own screen with their students, and create block/allow site lists to ensure students are engaged and spending time learning, as well as being able to provide support remotely.

Impero can help teachers and administrators manage networks remotely and adapt to working in fully remote or hybrid learning environments. Book a demo to get started.

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