School districts may offer sanitizer to teachers, help them be equipped with disinfectant spray, paper towels, plastic partitions for desks, and masks, but preparing to teach during the pandemic can take effort and creativity. The answer to what a classroom will look like this year is mixed and uncertain.
Beyond sanitizing desks after use, some administrators are getting inventive about social distancing. Premont Ernest H. Singleton Early College Academy in Premont ISD will have students walk six feet apart, or hula hoop distance apart.
One Texas kindergarten teacher turned her desks into trucks to bring some fun to social distancing.
At Hallsville ISD, volunteers have teamed up to make sneeze guards for their classrooms.
An art teacher at a Title 1 school in Texas is asking the public for help with supplies and posted on Twitter about what teaching art will look like now.
“Apparently I’m pushing a cart to all the classrooms. Several of the items on my list are to help organize my cart,” she tweeted.
Stephenville ISD partnered with Walmart, and their teachers were able to use the $100 gift card they each received for school supplies they needed for their classrooms.
Some Texas teachers are jumping on board with a promotion to post their Amazon wish list for a chance for T-mobile to pay for their supply list. One Texas history teacher is asking for help with books. A teacher in South Texas posted a link to her Amazon wish list and tweeted about where she works.
“Hello I’m a 1st grade teacher from South Texas in a T1 school. 96% of my students are economically disadvantaged. Anything helps,” she tweeted.
One person on Twitter expressed concern for a father who is a special education teacher.
“My dad is a special ed teacher currently being expected to teach two separate classrooms by himself in a Texas high school with students that must be physically restrained and helped to the bathroom.”
Boerne ISD also reopened its classrooms last week.
Longview ISD’s first day back to school was Monday. Campuses had handwashing stations, sanitizer in every classroom and temperature scanning. One parent debated her choice about sending her child back. Overall, Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said, the first day went better than expected.
Still, there is uncertainty about how a classroom should be set up as doors to schools open. One educator asked about the rules on Twitter.
“I am a third grade teacher in Texas about to start school tomorrow in a class where students will not be required to wear masks. My tables are 4’. Should I face the students toward each other or move them closer together with both facing front of the room?” she posted.
As families prepare to send their children back to school, one commenter shared concern with a tweet, “be glad you’re not having 22 kids face-to-face in a small classroom all day. I’m so scared for a teacher I love in North Texas.”
Spokespersons from the Texas State Teachers Association and Texas Federation of Teachers couldn’t provide a comment at this time on how classrooms will look this fall.
Meanwhile, hundreds of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at public schools that opened the first two weeks of August in Mississippi.