As students return to school it is evident that their health and safety be maintained. Essential to this is small class sizes to allow sufficient space between students. Social distancing is literally imposible with 30 students and more in a room. However, there are creative ideas that could help achieve the goal of a safe environment.
First, of course, is to creatre small class size with an emergency increase in the school budget. This is ideal but unlikely.
Another thought is through a team teaching concept we used at Milwaukee Village School. We teamed two teachers, a special ed teacher and an educational assisstant with 60 students. All for educators were simply called teachers. The special education teacher would serve general education students as well as those with special education needs based on their individual needs. There are many students regardless of "labels" that have the same needs. This would also work with two teachers and two educational assistants.
The educational assistants in many states can do the same things certified teachers do under the direction of the teacher. Educational assisants could over see a project, a computer lab, a review group, a discussion session reading clubs as defined in my books at www.wholechildreform.com and many other activities. The ideas are endless.
Additional small spaces could be located throughout the building as well as in nearby facilities to assure for social distancing.
Another thought is to utilize community learning centers such as those run by the TMCA and other groups. While one group of students could attend school on M, W. F, T. TH, alternate days could be held in a separate facility where they could be involved especoally in activities such as art, music, debate, physical education, dance, dramatic arts and many more. Again the possibilities are endless.
A meeting with educators and community organizations would allow the development of many more ideas as well as a framework for implementation.
Adding a nurse to every school would not only support a healthy environment but also one additional teacher of health education. This is well needed at this unique point in time.