When it comes to back-to-school in the era of Covid-19, the only certainty right now seems to be uncertainty. Everyone agrees that the ideal learning scenario is to return children to in-person classrooms with teachers and peers, but the looming pandemic and associated health concerns makes this a complicated and difficult decision for everyone involved. In part, the decision is dependent on geography and how prevalent Covid-19 is in any given region. Another factor is the safety measures that a school or a community takes to keep students, educators, and school staff safe. One thing is clear – parents and educators alike must be flexible and ready to change plans.
We’ve compiled resources for parents to help in the planning process over the school year. These resources include safety measures, tools for at-home learning and homeschooling, and resources for helping parents juggle working from home and at-home learning.
Many school districts are planning delayed school starts or a combination of in-school and distance learning. Check with your state’s Dept of Education website for plans and resources specific to your stat and community. In most states, this is a potentially dynamic situation.Yhe following sites are also tracking the status of school and higher education openings.
- Education Week: Map: Where Are Schools Open? – State-by-state map of where school buildings are open or closed
- School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – updated by Ballotopedia
- Chronicle of Higher Education: Here’s Our New List of Colleges’ Reopening Plans (requires creating an account)
- College Crisis Initiative Dashboard – Davidson College – map of ~3,000 colleges, community colleges, and universities in the US showing their Fall 2020 plans for academic instruction. Sort by plan and/or other filters,
CDC on schooling & prep
- Schools & Childcare
- School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers, and Guardians
- Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers
Back to School: More resources for school reopening
- What Back to School Might Look Like in the Age of Covid-19 – from the New York Times, an illustrated guide to how schools will try to control the coronavirus when students return to their classrooms, this fall or in the future.
- The Back to School Decision Tree Is Here For Worried Parents – Often used by businesses and other organizations, risk assessment matrices help decision-makers consider the riskiness of a choice at a glance. When reading a matrix, first identify the actions you’re assessing — in this case, homeschooling, sending your kid to school and afterschool care, or enrolling them in school only. Then, identify the potential consequences of those actions. The consequences we will consider are to public health, child development, child psychology, and family economics.
- Know Your Pandemic Schooling Options – As districts decide how to handle the fall semester, parents are podding up, scheduling tutors and enlisting relatives.
- COVID-19 safety: Tools to help parents prepare young students for eventual return to classroom – From ABC News, some useful tools for parents to help prepare young students for their eventual return to the classroom.
- Back to School Training: 8 Things to Practice With Your Kids Now for COVID-19 Classroom Safety – Pediatrician Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, of Connecticut Children’s offers advice for what families can practice during the next few weeks of summer.
- Safety tips for returning to school during COVID-19 – tips from the Mayo Clinic.
- How to Navigate a School Reopening – Consumer Reports offers questions to ask if your school district plans in-person classes.
- School’s Out: A Parents’ Guide for Meeting the Challenge During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Child Study Center experts of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone offer tips for parents to guide children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Is It Safe to Send Your Child Back to Day Care During COVID-19? – As childcare centers reopen in Connecticut, parents have a lot of questions about safety. Pediatrician Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, who directs Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes program, offers answers.
- Coping with Re-Opening Schools During a Pandemic – Dr. John Grohol, psychologist and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central offers tips for coping with difficult decisions in difficult times.
- How to Proactively Prepare for Distance Learning – This fall doesn’t have to be like the spring.
- The Journal: Updated: Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Wide Open Schools: Back to School Guide – Set your family up for success with distance learning tips and schedules for kids at home. You’ll find helpful resources from Common Sense and other trusted organizations on a range of topics, from using Zoom to managing anxiety and supporting social and emotional well-being.
- Homeland Security: Homeschooling Resources During COVID-19
- Head Start: Responding to COVID-19 – National Head Start Association offers free resources to support learning at home.
- How to Home School During Coronavirus – It’s not easy, even for professionals. Start with these sample lesson plans.
- Home schooling during coronavirus: Here’s how to get started – As many schools make plans to reopen in the fall, more parents are exploring home schooling and online education options.
- COVID19: Fun & educational sites for your stay-at-home kids
- Free Educational Resources, FAQ for Families Impacted by Coronavirus
- ADHD & Learning During COVID-19
- How to Get Your Kids to Treat You Like Their Teacher – Here’s how to create a space and habits that keep kids engaged with schoolwork at home.
Balancing work from home and children’s needs
- Parenting During Coronavirus: Tips for Families with Kids.
- Harvard Business Review Readers on Juggling Work and Kids… in a Pandemic – Some of the main themes include setting boundaries. and carving out time for focus; getting extended family involved; and embracing “good enough” while remembering to play, laugh, and be present.
- Working from home with kids feels unsustainable. Here’s how to ease the burden – This situation is unprecedented, so go easy on yourself.
- Age-Based Tips to Help Juggle Parenting & Working at Home During COVID-19
- 7 Tips for Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down
- Parents Share Their Best Tips on Working From Home While Parenting During the Coronavirus – With a little bit of creativity and a lot of patience, parents everywhere are making their new normal work.
- Balancing Act: How to Juggle Remote Work and Family During COVID-19
- Dealing with Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic
And for another resource that may be helpful to your family, visit: The Coronavirus Crisis: Tools for Tough Times