The Howard County Board of Education is scheduled to meet on July 16th (at 4:00pm) and discuss the Fall Reopening Report. This is a continuation of the discussions they had on July 9th.
Some decisions were made on July 9th related to schools reopening…but not all decisions and this is why the need for the meeting on the 16th.
It looks like Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is headed towards some type of hybrid in-class and online learning plan (that is my best guess) for the 2020-2021 school year.
The letter sent out yesterday by Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) to Governor Hogan and Superintendent Salmon states “we are calling for the 2020-2021 school year to begin with virtual learning and instruction for at least the first semester” (READ FULL LETTER HERE). I expect this idea to be discussed on the 16th.
One thing that was on my mind was the ability of daycare centers or daycare providers in Howard County to be online learning environments for students. This came to me after reviewing the presentation from HCPSS to the HoCoBOE members on July 9th (and is on the agenda for July 16th). On page 35 of the presentation it mentions “Attendance” :
That slider got me thinking are all daycare facilities setup for school aged children to connect to an open wi-fi connections to login daily? If so, is that connection good enough quality to have multiple children log-in in at once and preforming school work? Beyond connecting…do daycare facilities have the space setup for a learning environment for school aged children? I think some may and some may not be ready for this change (my guess…been a while since my child was in daycare).
At the end of the 2019-2020 school year many parents were home with kids as many businesses had closed for COVID-19. Now many of those businesses are open again and many parents have returned to work. Those parents now back to work are sending their young children to daycare and will continue to need to do so for online learning days at schools. The ability of daycare facilities to assist with online learning will be a thing to consider.
There is also the financial impact on parents in an online learning environment. I remember when my kid was young she attended daycare all day in the summer but in the school year she only attended daycare in the afternoons after school. We would send her off on the bus to school in the morning and she would take a bus to her daycare facility in the afternoon. The cost was always less expensive in the school year for the afternoon only day care. For many parents they will have to budget differently for that cost of all day daycare for an online learning environment (even if it only 3 days a week in that way).
None of this is a pitch to do one thing or another…the school board and school system will make those decisions based on what is best for the kids and teachers…but I thought I would put this out today as something for the board to consider and discuss tomorrow (for those that read this blog).
What do you think? Is this something that is of concern to you? Let me know in the comments.