Tutoring: 3 little COVID-19 changes to school with a big impact

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There are many changes occurring at and to schools as a result of COVID-19. Some of the changes are obvious and are slowly becoming familiar - masks, hybrid and remote learning, additional cleaning measures, etc. Other changes are smaller and less obvious, but you should be prepared for even more surprises when your child starts in-person (BAM) schooling.

Change number 1: line-up procedures and traveling in the hallways

In the past, depending on a teacher's expectations as well as students' ages/grade level, there has been a mass rushing at the door when lining up for recess, lunch, specials, etc. That is no longer going to happen. Teachers will release students in a specific order to keep proper spacing and minimize cross-traffic. Students have to be a minimum of 3-feet apart, and to ensure the proper distance during line-up, teachers have placed tape or other markings on the floor.

Students are to go to a dot/tape marking when lining-up and stay socially distanced as they walk through the hallways. A common idea I've seen at the school I've been substitute teaching at is "zombie arms." Students keep their distance by extending their arms out in front of them as they walk down the halls. For younger students who haven't mastered the art of lining up and traveling through the hallways, these new directions will likely be easy to learn whereas students in upper grades will have to unlearn to relearn new procedures.

Change number 2: visiting the bathroom/bathroom breaks

When going to restaurants in Kansas, it has become common practice for there to be limitations on the number of people allowed in the restroom and for there to be labels on the floor where to stand when washing hands and where to wait.

The same ideas will apply to school bathroom breaks. Students will not be allowed to go to the restroom whenever they want to prevent the touching of the bathroom/hall pass by multiple students, to keep the number of students in the bathroom to a minimum, and to prevent students from different classes coming into contact with each other.

Bathroom schedules will likely be enforced, and teachers will have to find new ways to manage their classrooms and bathroom breaks at the same time. Depending on the size of restrooms and a school's guidelines/state's restrictions, students will go to the bathroom one by one, and schools will have to designate certain bathrooms for certain teachers at certain times.

Change number 3: classroom space/location

COVID-19 requires three to six feet of space between students everywhere: in the classroom, in the hallways, in the bathroom, etc. Unfortunately, classrooms were not designed for 20 - 30 students to be spaced three to six feet apart. As a result, teachers are having to be creative when finding work space for students as well as seats during instruction.

The school I'm substitute teaching at is fortunate to have common areas near many of the classrooms. One of the teachers is two students away from the district cut-off for having to hire another teacher. As a result, she moved classrooms and has divided her classroom between her actual classroom and the common area. This teacher will have to manage both areas when students attend school in-person and has had to place markings on the floor in her actual classroom for social distancing during instruction.

These changes are tough on teachers, parents/guardians, and students. Parents, I know it's confusing. I urge you to be patient as teachers are doing their best. Do know, I am here to help fill in those gaps between school-instruction and homework. Join my Facebook group here to get the help you and your children need to have a successful school year.

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