The Importance of Summer School During the Pandemic
As many schools shifted to virtual learning at the start of the pandemic, parents and children across the United States faced a variety of unique challenges. Having little time to prepare, distractions at home, and lacking the direct support of their teacher for questions has resulted in many students falling behind their studies, placing them at a disadvantage as the school year moves on.
With vaccine approvals for young children being months away, many anxious parents are looking at ways they can help their children address the learning gaps they may have dealt with throughout the past year. An option that many parents find appealing is the use of summer school. However, many might be asking themselves if summer school is safe for children during the pandemic and whether there are additional steps they can take to protect the health of their children.
Here are some useful reasons why you should consider summer school and how you can help keep your children safe from COVID-19 during their summer school classes.
Why Is Summer School Important?
Summer school is an invaluable time that helps fortify learning for students. For those who may be unsure if summer school is the right choice, here are 4 key reasons why summer school is important for children who have been struggling throughout the pandemic:
- Inter-personal connections: It’s no surprise to see that children develop social skills, improve emotional development, and have overall healthier connections with friends better in person. These connections help them learn empathy, how to best cope with stress, and ultimately allow children to learn valuable skills that are hard to learn through books alone.
- Dedicated teachers: Not all parents have the tools they need to best support their children’s education. In fact, many families may already have unique challenges they have to address at home, including financial troubles, issues with employment, and pressures from working at home. Having the option to go to summer school helps children be in an environment that is tailored to helping them grow and learn.
- Adaptation to learning styles: Everyone learns in different ways. Some are visual learners, preferring to see demonstrations of an idea or seeing it sketched out on a blackboard. Others are more hands-on, preferring to place their learnings into action. In-person school allows for teachers to learn what resonates with children the best while allowing them to best understand the concepts that are taught.
- Structure and support: Having children essentially self-guide their learning means that those who may have distractions at home may have challenges fully understanding a subject. Summer schools provide structure and help for them to grasp subjects they wouldn’t have otherwise.
While summer school does come at a cost, the skills and benefits that children get from this additional time will help address some of the learning issues that parents have noticed throughout the past year in the pandemic.
Recommendations to Keep Students Safe During a Pandemic at Summer School
We have a greater understanding of the SARS-COV-2 virus than we did a year ago, allowing for the CDC to update their guidance in turn. As a result, students, teachers, and parents who may have been concerned about the spread of COVID-19 now have a better idea of what can be done to protect each other at school.
The CDC provides operational strategies for K-12 schools, updated in March 2021, that recommend the following:
- Maintaining a distance of at least 3 feet between students in classrooms: While 6 feet is preferred, having some distance between children with masks allows for teachers to find creative ways to keep students safely apart using modified layouts. Ask their teacher or school what steps are being taken to address the need for space between students.
- Improving ventilation: Having ventilation increases the circulation of outdoor air and dilutes potential contaminants. Many schools have adapted better ventilation throughout their classrooms to help reduce stagnant air that could contain SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. When choosing summer schools, ensure that there is proper ventilation in classrooms.
- Using masks: Using tightly woven cloth masks provides a safe and effective way for students to learn indoors and while on school buses. The guidance applies to both staff and children, with parents bearing the responsibility of providing proper instructions as to why masks are important and how to properly put them on.
- Handwashing etiquette: Many younger children may be unaware of how to properly cover their mouths or nose when sneezing and coughing. Teaching and reinforcing handwashing provides them with a greater understanding of how germs spread, and give them the foundation they need for healthier habits as adults.
- Cleaning high touch surfaces and objects: Cleaning drinking fountains, toilets, playground equipment, door handles, light switches, toys, and other areas is important. While the risk of infection from COVID-19 on surfaces has been shown to be minimal, there are still risks that can come from children unknowingly touching their face or mouth after touching an infected surface. Check to see if the school has custodial staff or a cleaning company in charge of regular cleaning. A school cleaning professional will be able to best identify these high-touch areas in need of cleaning and disinfection, while also using the appropriate tools and techniques needed for the job.
Safe and Effective Learning During the Pandemic
Following the above recommendations will help you and your children get the most benefits from summer school while also ensuring that you follow CDC guidelines to keep your children safe. The added support from summer school will help address any lack of structure during the pandemic and will be welcome for those students and parents who are eager to get back to a new sense of normalcy.
If you’re a teacher or manage a summer school, ensure that you follow the appropriate guidelines to meet CDC guidelines and keep students safe. If you’re unsure how to best address the cleaning and disinfection guidelines set by the CDC, trust a commercial cleaning company like ServiceMaster Clean for your cleaning needs. We have over 65 years of experience in the field and have local cleaning experts familiar with the education industry. See why schools across the United States trust us with their cleaning and disinfection needs.