Ever since the CDC came out with new guidelines fo reopening schools this week, we teachers, especially of the youngest children, have been freaking out! How can we move forward with these new regulations?

The first one states that children over age 2 will wear masks.  Really? For 6 hours each day?  I teach 4 and 5 year olds.  It makes me cringe not to be able to see them smile.  And they can’t stop playing with their pants and or keep their shirts out of their mouth or fingers out of their noses.  How long do you think these masks will last?  I suppose there will be back ups in their individual supply boxes, right?

No sharing of any items… Isn’t that the point of kindergarten?  To learn how to share.  I guess not anymore.  So will play time be rotated:  one kid at a time into the kitchen or block area wearing gloves and a mask, immediately to be sprayed with Lysol and then another child gets to play? That seems a bit lame.

Recent research states there is a crisis in Kindergarten.  That we were pushing academics too hard and that children needed more time to learn skills through play. The Alliance for Childhood wrote recommendations about the importance of play in kindergarten Crisis in Kindergarten: Why Children need to play in School After all the research I’ve read on the benefits of play in school I am sad to see that sharing toys and games will be eliminated.

Desks 6 feet apart all facing the same way.  In my 20 years of teaching kindergarten we have never had desks in the classroom.  The little people sit at tables to do their work. To make room for 20-25 desks I guess we will need to remove the play areas and carpet for story time.  We won’t really need those areas anymore anyway.

No communal shared spaces – cafeterias, playgrounds. I think keeping 5 year olds at a desk for 6 hours a day should be an easy task.  Maybe we can set a timer and every 20 minutes jog in place for a minute.  We sure would not want children to have any fun at school.

School buses – one child per seat, skip rows.  Ask any kid the best part of school and they will many times tell you the bus ride.  I’m not really sure what happens on that bus, but I guess that is why it is the best part of the day.  We will just need to hire a few more buses to be sure the kids can’t be near each other, and probably some type of guard on the bus to enforce the rules – that one is sure to be broken.

Same children with the same teacher all day, no switching groups or teachers.  I know parents who have been homeschooling their kids since March have not had a break so I don’t want to complain, but SERIOUSLY? In New York, our schools have special subject areas with teachers who are trained experts in their fields: Music, Art, Physical Education, and Library.  In fact I do believe I have a contract that states I get to have time for lunch without my students.  I think that rule will need some modifications.

Tape on sidewalks and walls to assure kids stay 6ft apart.  Gee, if I only knew that tape on the walls would have avoided all those kids bumping into each other, pushing, hitting, falling down and tripping friends when they lose their shoes, I would have done that years ago.

Of course the list ends with suggestions for possible daily health and temperature checks, and cleaning, disinfecting and hand washing throughout the day.  For years we were forced to sit through OSHA seminars and told never to bring anything strong like bleach or other cleaners to school, only use the organic school certified soaps.  Maybe those days are over.

The crux of it all is that no matter what we do, we need to be ready to jump back to virtual on line learning if another out break happens.  That is what happened this week in South Korea.  66 schools closed 2 hours after schools reopened because 2 students tested positive for COVID-19.

Sweden has kept its schools for under-16s open throughout the coronavirus outbreak.  They felt the virus did not affect young children the same as older people and that parents needed to go to work.  In Sweden, they have implemented more handwashing and outdoor activities for students.  Sick staff and students are to stay home and social distancing is being practiced.

Well, when I decide to spend time worrying about this my level headed husband tells me not to bother myself with worry that I can’t do anything about.  Worrying doesn’t do any good.  He suggests I only worry about things I can control, like if the plants need water or the dog needs to go out.  I know that.  Last week that was the topic of my blog post: Week 9 – What can we control? But sometimes I do get carried away, especially over the future of kids in school.

My son isn’t as worried for the kids.  He thinks they will adapt. It will seem normal to them, like wearing shoes to school.  Maybe he is right? Here are some ways to help kids feel more comfortable wearing masks, like making them together or decorating them.  https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-masks.html

 

Well, I have worried enough for today. I spent some time searching on line for prettier masks to wear, since I will most likely be wearing them to work in the fall.  Many will not be available until July or August so I am going to order some soon.

It is the beginning of Memorial Day weekend and right now my husband is attaching our bikes to his car so we can head to the state park for a bike ride.  I hope they don’t close it before we get there.  I have heard that they want to keep the parks open to 50% capacity.  I’ll bring my mask as well.  I can’t imagine riding my bike with a mask on, but just in case.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend – the weather is getting warmer here in New York and I am ready to spend some time outside this weekend.