Brian J. Matis
With this school year coming to a close, and the next one arriving soon, it has everyone wondering what education next year will look like. This year, students spent most of their time putting in their work on virtual platforms, and are now transitioning back into the building to finish out the year. Which has made parents, students and teachers wonder if school will be back to normal this fall, the likely answer is somewhat but not really.
This topic has been talked about among families, friends, and, most recently, media outlets. With there being several uncertainties about masks, social distancing, and in person instruction, the media started putting in their predictions.
According to the Washington Post, “School districts across the country are planning to return to full-time, in-person classes this fall,” but some are “planning for hybrid systems with remote learning as a fallback.” They also answer the public’s question about the enforcement of face coverings, by saying that “Masks and other mitigation measures will remain in place in most of the country.”
There are some bigger cities that don’t predict being able to have in-person instruction at all. Large cities like Chicago and Los Angeles are still currently only able to provide online instruction. Although, schools in more rural areas plan to be fully reopened by the fall.
While this year will continue to be different, experts hope that there will be a new normal by fall as vaccinations continue. The trials for children 12 and up are advancing and trials for younger children are “getting off the ground”. Hopefully these trials can be completed before the early fall because, “We could have a very different scenario for school in the fall, especially as vaccines continue,” said pediatrician and Dean of the Yale School of Public Health, Dr. Sten Vermund.
Teachers seem to have similar predictions for the fall, “At first we will still have mitigation strategies such as distancing and face coverings, however this will lessen as vaccines are more widely available and cases get lower,” says teacher Sarah Harkrader. Although Harkrader did have a different prediction about having a hybrid option, “I think we will all be in person, there will be no virtual students,” says Harkrader.
However, students seem to have a little bit of a different prediction for what school in the fall may look like. Sophomore Taylor Peck says that she predicts, “You won’t have to wear a mask if you’re vaccinated.” Peck also predicts that there will be a virtual option, but “It will not be through our school system, but through homeschooling.”
As the fall approaches, it is uncertain what to expect when going back to school. As the time grows closer it will eventually become more clear what to expect, but for now all there is to rely on is predictions, hopes, and the future of education in Fluvanna.