You might be asking why your school district should start planning for a return to normal operations now if the COVID-19 pandemic is far from being over. It seems a bit counter-intuitive at first glance, but it's actually critical that schools begin to plan for their pathway back to normalcy.
The fact is that even though each state and school district is in a unique situation, all schools across the nation will return back to holding regular classes eventually, but that cannot be a successful transition without careful planning and coordination. The biggest problem is that many districts don't know what to do or even where to start, and this is an issue affecting schools all over the country.
According to EdWeek, School closures due to coronavirus have impacted at least 124,000 U.S. public and private schools and affected at least 55.1 million students. With the astonishing number of schools and students displaced from their learning environments, it's important that school districts around the country start to learn how other districts are dealing with the challenges caused by this pandemic to spread greater knowledge about what works and what doesn't for pandemic response.
Normally, an after-action review process would begin post-event. Then people would create presentations and invite everyone to attend a conference and review the findings. Today, this cannot work, for many reasons:
- This pandemic could last for many more months, and clearly remembering the challenges 3-12 months later would be difficult.
- We can't gather together to share experiences, so a digital or virtual approach will be needed.
- District leaders need best practices to be prepared for back to school.
For these reasons, CrisisGo is unveiling the school district COVID-19 Pandemic Crowdsourcing project. The goal is an after-action review of challenges already faced like e-learning, meal distribution, social-emotional programs, and plans to one day reopen schools.
Our 4-week crowdsourcing project will involve a sequence of daily pandemic-related safety questions and prompts created by school safety and emergency response expert, Jeff Kaye. Participants can share their relevant experience or thoughts on the topic by completing a simple form, and we will aggregate the safety data at the end of the project.
Our hope is that this information will help school districts coordinate their return to school with as little friction as possible. However, in order to return to school, we will also have to face the reality that we will probably not be back to normal. Therefore, there will also be scenarios sent out to gain your thoughts on how we will return to school under less than ideal situations, like having to continue to social distance.
This initiative depends on you and other school districts in the country participating. The project will last one month, and weekly findings, as well as a comprehensive summary report, will be sent to participating districts.
Please help your school district and others by signing up at covid19.crisisgo.com.