With the unprecedented disruption to education caused by COVID-19, parents and students are yearning for a return to normalcy. Calls to reopen school buildings closed during the COVID-19 pandemic have increased, and states and school districts are grappling with how to provide learning in the next school year.
Because we don’t know the state of COVID-19’s trajectory for next fall or the timeline for a vaccine, it’s impossible for school systems doing their planning now to know whether school buildings will be open or closed.
School systems must plan for both realities: one where school buildings will reopen at a limited capacity—with some students at home and some in the classroom—and one where buildings are closed for long stretches at some point during the fall semester.
In this uncertainty, there’s a clear need to redesign our systems of learning for resiliency.
A hybrid learning model, where the majority of teacher-led learning happens outside the classroom with supplemental face-to-face instruction, is the best option to accommodate the learning needs of students and provide districts with the flexibility to adapt to changing scenarios. Enabling schools to adjust to second-wave outbreaks, accommodate parental concerns about having children out of the house, adhere to physical distancing mandates, and address the tremendous amount of learning loss students have incurred is critical.
D2L has published a new policy brief—“Learning Next Fall: The Hybrid Classroom”—discussing the hybrid learning model and how states, provinces, and districts can implement it for next year. Technology point solutions on their own won’t be the saviour of students and learning. Holistic learning solutions that engage teachers and enable them to continue to serve the needs of the whole child as they do in the classroom are needed.