Six Faces of Education in NOLA during CovidFuture of Education There are many ways schooling and education will look this year, due to COVID. We explore six options for families. What matters most, of course, is your child’s emotional wellbeing and finding the right option for them. Learning Pods Variation on the long-time homeschool hybrid, this is essentially quarantining education. Also called “micro-schools,” supplemental education to pandemic online learning or for families who do not want to send their kids back to physical schools. Small group of students, close in age, are taught by an educator - often a retired teacher - in one’s home. Benefits: Students stay enrolled at their regular schools. Children are on track with their curriculum. Children have safe social groups. Drawbacks: Dependent upon the quality of the teacher/tutor. Cannot take the place of school. Creates further educational inequality as most families cannot afford this. Virtual Introduced in the 1990s with the advent of web-based, accredited university software, online offerings for students of all ages have proliferated since; some free, some tuition-paying, some degree-giving, others for supplemental learning. K-12 schools adopted this model in March 2020 as a means of quarantine learning. Benefits: Teachers & students are able to safely interact within normally scheduled hours. Access to coursework at all times. Some children are better suited for emotional or intellectual reasons. Drawbacks: Students miss social interaction and individualized attention. Students may not “show up” or sign-in for class. Some children may not be able to learn outside a classroom. Wifi or private space may not be available to at-risk learners. Even where wifi is strong, there can be interruptions. Homeschool Multiple scenarios exist for individual students / families / groups. Traditional models range from the Classical with defined ideologies and Charlotte Mason, both with or without Christian learning, to Waldorf or Montessori methods, and free-form “Unschooling.” Schooling within a community or solely as a student or family. State regulations prevail. Online via the State of Louisiana: LouisianaBelieves.com for guidelines and adhering to state laws. A wide variety of virtual, for-pay schools exist on the web. These are popular for children who cannot attend school for medical reasons, and military and other families who may move often. Non-Public Private and parochial schools normally have smaller class sizes and so are better able to safely distance students and conduct classes onsite. All schools have protocols for keeping students and faculty safe, with plans for quarantining and virtual classes for those grades with a COVID-positive student or teacher. Hybrid Traditional: Refers homeschooled children from multiple families taught together on a regular basis, 1-2 days/week, at a local facility for 5-6 hours/day. Tutors/teachers are trained to lead the classes, and teach parents techniques to use at home in educating their kids. 2020: Public schools across parishes are slotting students to be simultaneously taught at-school and virtually. Students learn on campus 2 days/week & virtually at home 3 days/week. Public Schools All educators are concerned with the safety of students and their families, staff and teachers. Safety and quarantining plans are in place for all schools. Orleans Parish - Schools started virtually, with technology distributed to families and the city working to ensure wireless connectivity; goal of getting students back into classrooms after Labor Day. Jefferson Parish - Distributing technology to all students by start of term and working to ensure wireless coverage. In-class start date delayed to August 26. “Virtual Jefferson” option: students learn distantly with their actual teacher and class. nola family staff, August 25, 2020For 2020/2021 New Orleans school listings, click here. For our roundtable discussion with local experts and educators, click here.