All of these circumstances are causes for concern for both parents and schools: What happens if and when students are out of school for extended periods? What if the schools have to close? This article provides eight suggestions for parents to consider in light of these pressing questions and situations.
We all know from experience that it is hard when learning stops and starts at a stuttering pace. Stopping for two weeks is a much greater disruption in learning process than it would appear: beyond just the class time missed, it takes time to ramp up again, get organized and resume. This article also provides eight ways that parents can work to prepare their students, schools and homes in order to reduce the learning disruption.
Of course our utmost priority is safety, health and well being. Our medical professionals advise that we stay home when sick, so we do not spread our illness and we can recover more quickly. But once we or our children are on the mend, rather than focus on the illness, isolation, being bored or having idle hands which can get into trouble, parents need a plan to help students follow accountable learning. It does not have to be overly rigorous, but it can help keep students learning, keep them connected with class content, and keep them fixed in the mindset of the school year. Following these eight steps should help with the transition and minimize the time lost due to the flu season or any other reason!
1. Visit the school web site and check the most recent news about policies, procedures, and status reports.
2. Talk to teachers about how to get books, assignments, instruction and homework for your students if they have to stay out of school. Discover if the relevant policies are school-wide or class-specific?
3. Ask that policy and any other available information and plans be posted on the class web site.
4. Institute or wake up the emergency phone call and text message response systems to be sure you can be reached if your student needs to come home or if there are cancellations
5. Ask if teachers can use the class website or another online management system to begin to post daily class outlines (lesson plans), assignments and home work, even now. This is good practice to build learner accountability regardless of flu outbreaks.
6. Ask both the PTA and the school to discuss whether laptops or computers can be loaned to students with financial need, who have to have involuntary extended absences (like the flu). Perhaps a security deposit maybe required, but there could be an established policy and process established.
7. Consider purchasing or borrowing a inexpensive netbook, laptop or desktop for your student (