Schools are grappling with the pressure of uncertain news about COVID-19 and the expectations of parents and students about the fall. And, let’s be honest, it’s difficult to promise that schools will deliver top-quality education in the fall and beyond. But, there is one thing that we can guarantee to our school communities: The Promise of Focus.
You may read the word “focus” and think immediately about The Schedule (capital T and S intentional), and that’s fair. Knowing where and when students and teachers will (hopefully) physically BE while adhering to distance requirements is critical. And the structure of the day IS focus. But resist the temptation to believe that all the focus we need is the schedule.
Focus, in the age of COVID-19, will come in singular moments, and then will fade away. The schedule may need to change quickly in ways we did not consider last spring. The social-emotional needs of the faculty and staff, students and families will change over the fall and winter. And, no matter what the outcome, the presidential election in November and the months that follow will create additional pressure that will test a school’s ability to focus.
So, another Schedule that might be helpful to establish this fall would be a communication schedule. You will need to be ready to efficiently update your community about changes in focus because there will be many. But, GOOD NEWS, that is a promise a school community can keep.
You may have to deal with a COVID-19 exposure in your school, so you can plan how you will handle it and maintain your focus on learning and safety. You may have to take the temperatures of everyone who comes to your school, so you can plan how to make that a caring experience so that you can focus on learning. You may have to take more time to reassure and reduce anxiety, so you can train your staff to be emotionally ready to respond to stress and return to learning. Each day will be different, but each day you must find focus and work with it, not against it.
The coming year will be a dance with focus and pivot. Schools that learn the steps to that dance and have a routine (various schedules, communication plans, prepared staff and faculty) WILL be able to maintain the promise of focus.
Book Bag Learning can help train staff and faculty and create communication plans for schools. Contact us below.