On Thursday, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) announced that they would start the Fall 2020 school year with distance learning. I wasn’t surprised. LA and San Diego counties had already announced that they were going to start the fall school year with distance learning. At least one East Bay county had announced that they were going to do the same. I saw it coming, especially with the surge in COVID-19 cases across the Bay Area and the state as a whole. A small part of me was hoping for a hybrid learning model that combined both distance learning and in-school learning. The earliest we will see that is in October. I get that the school district wants to keep teachers and students safe and healthy. Still, the news just sucks.
For months, we have been preparing our daughter for the fact that she will be attending a new school and will be making new friends. Ilse has been so excited about the prospect of attending a “big kid” school; now she has to wait. We’ll persevere, though.
We did distance learning for two months in the Spring during the height of SIP. My husband and I modified our work schedules to accommodate her classes, and we will just do it again. We are fortunate that both of our employers have been flexible with our family’s needs. Others are not so fortunate. I want to know how the school district is planning to help those families.
Naturally, my concerns about this Fall year center around creating social interaction and staying on track with learning. Our daughter Ilse learns best when she is among her peers, as she is a sociable person. A Brentwood mom came up with an excellent idea for her district that involved small learning “social bubbles.” It’s brilliant and I think it could be scaled down for individual schools or classrooms. I am excited to see what other ideas other parents think of to support distance learning. We can learn from each other and support each other. Just as schools are navigating unprecedented times, so are we parents.
As we wait for SFUSD and Ilse’s elementary school to provide more information for the coming Fall year, I will be researching ways we can create safe social interactions for Ilse and enhance the distance learning experience at home. I will be joining our school’s PTA to stay in contact with the parents and our school faculty. My biggest takeaway from this year’s distance learning is our participation matters. When my husband and I are working closely with Ilse and her teacher, she learns better (even when our patience gets stretched). All the resources in the school district won’t help my daughter learn a thing if we aren’t participating in her learning. Educating my child is not the responsibility of any school. Educating my child is my responsibility.