Back to School: “Classes cancelled today for heavy rain” is a much better headline than “One year old tested positive for COVID and hospitalized for dehydration”.

It’s time to think outside the box and take the classroom to the playing fields.

Sports chairs with school books
Image by Alison Doucette

In Florida last week one year old “Sam” caught the virus from his father. His father caught it at work. His father stayed home, but his son was hospitalized with his mother (who tested negative by his side). The tiny boy could not eat or drink given a very high fever. After 3 days on an IV in the hospital for dehydration, “Sam”returned home. Sam’s dad is not a teacher, but what if he was? There is no vaccine for COVID like there is for the flu.

Imagining a future school year:

It’s September and with relief you drop your kid off at middle school. She is ready with her knapsack, packed lunch, hand sanitizer, sports chair, sunscreen, hat and umbrella.

You wave to her as she marches off to class on the sports field, sets up her sports chair at her designated spot, puts her drink in the cup holder, gets out her clipboard for notes and looks to the teacher who is setting up her laptop to project to the big screen on loan from one of the local colleges.

You relax as she is outside and masked and seems intrigued by this new way of learning. Next week she will be home online learning and the following week she will have projects and meet-ups with other students in her “pod” at in the school building.

Tent outside school building
Image by Alison Doucette

You pick her up at the end of the day and she is so excited. “So first we watched a short movie and then the teacher challenged us to do Math using rulers in the field. Then we had some freeze time running around the field with our masks on and then they blew a whistle and we all ran back to our chairs!” she said. “Then the social studies teacher came by and we watched another short video and then we took a poll of our opinions raising our cards. People feel so differently about things and it was just like the photos of town meetings. I hope it does not rain hard this week as this is the best school has ever been!”

Driving home you give thanks to an administration that was able to think “outside” the box.

This whole scenario may sound far-fetched, but given the unknowns about indoor groups and aerosols versus droplets, all opportunities to leverage outdoor learning scenarios should be explored. There is always the weather, but schools are used to issuing snow day or tropical storm warnings for school closures.

Love building product with AI smarts and great UX, playing soccer and learning data science

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