Monday, August 10, 2020

Not Just a Mom-- Back to School

Good morning friends! Today is our next "Not Just a Mom" link up. If you're also a blogger I hope you'll link up with us today! 
Our topic today was supposed to be "Back to School Freedom" which it turns out is going to be quite a bit different for some of us than we originally thought. Ashley had the idea to talk about what "Back to School" is going to look like for each of us, because we had a feeling it is going to look just a little bit different for each of us.

Those of you who have been reading here for a bit already know that we live in Charlotte, NC and that I was a teacher in a small private school for 11 years. This is my first year not going back and being a full time SAHM instead. What a year not to go back, right?? I had a girlfriend ask me last week how I would feel about going back if I was still teaching and honestly... I feel pretty good about the measures my old school has put in place to try to keep the students/faculty/staff safe. I'm going to break this post up into 3 separate sections: How the public schools are handling Back to School, and what the school I used to work at is doing, and how Lily Grace's preschool is doing it.  So let's talk about it! 
1. Public Schools-- Here in Charlotte our public schools, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, are not going back in person, indefinitely. They initially wanted to do 2 weeks in person so the kids could meet their teachers and teachers could explain how online learning was going to work, then they were going to go to full online learning. Like most places, the parents in Charlotte had a LOT of opinions about this. Online learning was hard. It was hard for everyone. The teachers didn't have the equipment/knowledge/expertise to know how to do it well. The students/families were struggling to find a school/work/life balance. While many of the parents appreciated the thought of the kids getting to go back for a bit to meet the teachers/learn how to do online learning, I think people realized that it wouldn't work out so well in reality. 
2. My School-- My former school, a small Catholic school, is doing the polar opposite. They are opening in full, starting next week. At first I thought they were crazy. I thought there was no way to safely do this and I was worried we were putting some of the families and teachers at risk. But after getting a better breakdown of how it's actually going to go, I feel a lot better. So much better in fact that I even agreed to sub on the first week of school! Here's their plan (at least what I know of it, I don't get all the e-mails anymore!):

-First and foremost we are fortunate to already have small class sizes. Average class size is 16 students to 1 teacher and 1 teacher assistant. Due to the small class sizes, teachers are easily able to spread the desks out and distance them. 

- Each class is going to be treated like a "pod". The students are not to leave their room with the exception of going to the bathroom (I'm not sure what the plan is for keeping those germ free?). No lunch in the cafeteria, and special area teachers are going to come to each homeroom as opposed to the students going to them. We are fortunate enough to have 2 playgrounds and a large blacktop area for the kids to run around at recess. Since the spread doesn't seem to be as much of an issue outside, the kids are being encouraged to get outside for breaks throughout the day. We have plenty of space so everybody can get outside without numbers ever getting too high. 

- Younger grades are not required to wear masks, but older students are being asked to when they are not able to social distance/have to leave their "pod". Teachers are required to wear masks, and face shields are also available. In cases of desks not being able to distance, there will be plexiglass shields up.

- Parents are being required to fill out an online health survey each morning before children are admitted into the building. It's your basic "have you had any symptoms, etc" survey. Parents are required to do temperature checks at home prior to coming in. Temperature is supposed to be put on the health survey before being admitted. 

I am so happy for some of the families that their children are able to return to "normal". We have one family whose dad is in the military and has been deployed and mom is a nurse... meaning she was alone for childcare/online learning while she was also supposed to be working overtime as a front line worker. I am so grateful she has the opportunity to send her children back to school. We have several families who have children with special needs. These children haven't been able to receive the services they need during this time and they are struggling big time (as are their parents-- many of whom are supposed to be working from home).

I have been praying daily for the safety of our students, families, teachers, staff, etc. I am hopeful that they will be able to open safely and that everything will get off without a hitch. 

And then if for some reason it doesn't go as planned, the backup plan is to go back to distance learning. I hope for the sake of all involved that they don't have to go back to that.

Last year on the first day 💕
3. Lily Grace's Preschool-- Lily Grace's school is opening back up, but with a lot of changes. She was supposed to be going to school Monday/Wednesday/Friday with the other 3 y/o class going on Tuesday/Thursday. Her school decided to instead have LG's class go on Monday/Tuesday, take Wednesday to clean, and then the other class will be Thursday/Friday. This takes her from 3 days a week to 2, but that's okay. I'm just happy she's going. The preschoolers are not required to wear masks, but are to stay in their classrooms as "pods" similar to my school. Parents are not allowed in the building, "Meet the Teacher" is virtual, etc. 

How about you?? What are the schools in your area doing??

Thank you so much for following along today! Remember, if you are also a blogger please link up with us today! Next month we will be writing about our skin care/makeup routine. I can't wait!!

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  1. Schools in our area still don't have much in place as far as plans go; I know they're working on them but then they keep changing...

    1. I know, that's the hard thing! Just when they think they have a plan, something changes.

  2. I think your former school sounds a bit like my boys' school, but because we have a state wide mask mandate, they are requiring masks at all times. I think some people are upset about that, but I'm happy about it!

    1. I would be too! It doesn't hurt anyone to wear a mask. As a former kindergarten teacher I initially thought there was no way they'd keep them on, but you won't know if you don't try!

  3. Your old school seems very organized and fortunate to be able to spread out.

  4. The old school seems like they have a solid plan! I know everything will work out great!

  5. Such an interesting topic! My daughter's school district has a very similar plan in place to your old school/your daughter's preschool. The hybrid option is 2 days a week, 4 hours a day, social distanced classrooms but masks still required. We also had the option to choose full virtual. I struggled with the decision so much (my daughter will be in first grade) but ultimately chose virtual to start out since I am fortunate enough to be working part time from home. We'll see how it goes!