Week of January 11, 2021
Working together; succeeding together.
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The Idea of New Normal
We have said from the start of all this that we firmly reject two terms that have become commonplace; "new normal" and "social distancing". I want to be clear that we do not reject the concepts, simply the terminology. I will explain.
When it comes to "social distancing" we have remained firmly committed to the concept of physical distancing (staying 6' part when possible), but firmly opposed to the idea of isolating ourselves socially. During trying times, we need each other more than we ever have. To this end, we have taken on the challenge of finding ways to remain socially accessible to each other and to our students while respecting the need for certain practices to keep everyone safe. Hand hygiene and mask-wearing have been two of the main tools that we have employed to allow us to remain socially together while maintaining a safe learning and working environment. We have tried to do traditional activities differently rather than not do them and only when there is no other way to we consider canceling or discontinuing events. Our students, families, and staff have been amazing in terms of supporting us in this, which has allowed us to keep doing some of the things that we love to do as a school community.
I wholeheartedly reject the concept of "new normal" and only begrudgingly accept the idea of "normal for now". None of this is normal and it is my hope that none of what we are experiencing, in terms of restrictions and protocols, remains after the pandemic is a distant memory. I long for "old normal" and will fight to make sure that, when it is safe to do so, we return to the way things were; the good old days as it were.
That is not to say that we will throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, There have been some things that we have learned from all of this that can make the learning experience of our students and working experience of our staff better. One of these things is block scheduling. As we begin to plan for the fall (yeah we are starting that already), we are looking at the benefits and challenges posed by the block scheduling system. We are aware that 2h classes have been a challenge for some students, and a wonderful experience for others. The vast majority of our students have expressed positivity in terms of fewer classes at a time to manage. To that end, we are exploring some schedule options that would return us to 1h classes, while still having fewer classes in a block. Stay tuned as we finalize our plans for the fall with input from our SCC.