Many students look forward to the beginning of a new school year. This one, however, is different than any before, and most of the students aren’t getting the same contact with friends, unless it’s through technology.
Some Pinal County schools have been in session for a while already with distance learning, and the two Casa Grande school districts started that this week. Other district boards, including two in Queen Creek and J.O. Combs in northern Pinal County, approved in-person classes, but Combs later postponed that. There is no set formula for reopening schools, but the large number of people who work at the schools nevertheless have been planning since last spring to cope with COVID-19. As with nearly anything, some ideas will work better than others. But the main goal has been to resume education, and the schools are doing that.
When schools closed on an emergency basis during the spring semester, educators did the best they could to continue instruction. That obviously was difficult, especially because many students lack technology and the situation had never occurred before. The result was something less than ideal, to say the least. Of course, the new school year is not ideal either, but with a summer of planning, it is bound to be better.
Teachers in some states have been adamant against returning to work now. Arizonans normally are more practical, and they are trying. Meanwhile, parents have been stressed by trying to juggle work and helping their children learn. That will cause an ongoing push to reopen school doors as soon as possible.
Gov. Doug Ducey is requiring that all schools offer a place for students to go if they can’t stay home. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sun Corridor has stepped up and is providing some space for that to happen.
As the semester continues, the various schools will decide when they can take another step and let students come back inside buildings. As with the implementation of distance learning, that will involve some bold thinking and action. We salute the educators, parents — and students — who are seeking to make the educational experience successful in 2020-21.