Preparing for H1N1
If a school system sends home dozens of students in the face of an H1N1 outbreak, how would students keep up with their classwork? It is a question that the U.S. Department of Education is asking and directing school districts to start carefully considering.
At a news conference today in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested school systems might want to wade into some new technology and consider providing online classes or live classes with video coming over the Internet to students at home. At a more basic level, the schools might have technology that would allow a teacher to have a conference call with many students at the same time. School systems, the guidance said, might also arrange with book publishers to provide instructional materials to students if they are out for a long period.
Of course, the department also suggested the obvious: packets of homework materials that could be sent home in case of an H1N1 outbreak.
With everything teachers and administrators have to do these days, is this extra planning an important step or a nuisance contingency? How many teachers think they would be able to communicate effectively with students in the case of a school closing for a couple of weeks? How proficient are schools at getting a lot of material onto their Web sites?