Recently, D2L published a policy brief on leveraging hybrid learning to address the logistical challenges of reopening school buildings next school year. While we still do not know whether or when schools will reopen in the fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for schools on how schools should operate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which validates the hybrid learning solution.
Physical distance, diligent hygiene and sanitization practices, and proper protective attire are all discussed in detail in the guidance. Critical to these measures, however, is that students and staff who are sick or who have recently had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay home or be isolated from the rest of the school population for the protection of others.
According to the CDC, school districts will need to dramatically redesign their systems of learning to safely have students, teachers, and staff in school buildings. A hybrid learning model is recommended by the CDC to help districts meet the logistical challenges of the guidance’s physical distancing requirements:
- Desks 6 feet apart, turned in the same direction (never facing each other).
- Physical markers on the floors and sidewalks and signs on the walls to assist students and staff with remaining 6 feet apart.
- In spaces where students and staff cannot be at least 6 feet apart, use of physical barriers, such as plastic screens, is encouraged.
In addition to classroom layout changes, the CDC is recommending rotating and staggering schedules to limit the number of students in buildings at one time—allowing all students to have a physical classroom experience, while ensuring students and staff can remain 6 feet apart. Schools are encouraged to hold all events—including field trips, assemblies, performances, and visits from volunteers—virtually.
These guidelines lay the foundation for what schools must look like in order to keep students, staff, and teachers safe. It is abundantly clear that the dangers of COVID-19 necessitate distance between learners. Hybrid learning is an essential tool in ensuring that learning can continue even in a world where it is impossible for students to physically attend school in the way we knew before.
Read more about how the hybrid learning model can support school districts in reopening buildings next fall in the D2L policy brief “Learning Next Fall: The Hybrid Classroom.”