SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A month from now, the school bell's ring will usher in a return to normal or a new normal for millions of school-age children and their parents.
“Oh my gosh. It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said parent Natalie Mathison. “Parenting was hard before, and this takes it to a whole new level.”
Mathison has a first-grader enrolled in the San Jose Unified School District. But that district, similar to others, is still formulating its plan for the coming school year.
“We’re outfitting our students as well as our employees with new technologies to make sure that online instruction is available. Whether a student has to say at home or can attend in person,” said San Jose Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Stephen McMahon.
Zoom, the communications company used by millions, recently announced a two-day virtual academy for educators later this month. The first day will feature a panel of experts focusing on improving distance learning.
“We really are doing the academy so we can help them connect with others, school leaders and districts, who are making these decisions. As well as some experts out there who have been studying this,” said Anne Keehn, global education lead at Zoom.
While tech and execs plan, many parents are being forced to conquer a new kind of mental calculus. Santa Clara city schools will do distance learning to start the school year, as well as the Mount Diablo and Oakland school districts.
Joanne Price has two students in public school in Mountain View, both of whom want a return to class despite the COVID-19 crisis.
“We don’t know what’s around the corner. We don’t know what’s gonna happen in fall,” said Price. “We need to be able to be flexible and show our children that it’s okay. Sometimes we don’t have the answers.” Added McMahon, “We’re moving as fast as we can to incorporate that new information and be ready for students on August 12.”
Many parents hope the answers they seek will become more clear, as several districts inch closer to a mid-August school opening.