Bag packed, lunch snacks fully stocked, computer screen lowered. Since lockdown measures were first implemented by the UK government in response to the coronavirus outbreak, most parents have swapped dropping their children off at the school gates for dropping them off at an internet gateway.
That was until this Monday when some – but by no means all – children in England returned tentatively to familiar classrooms. But what of the rest? After all, many parents still feel uncomfortable sending their child to school, and whilst it is just some primary schools now, and secondary schools and sixth forms from the middle of the month – we are still a long way from opening to all year groups, especially for those with exams on the horizon.
Then there’s teachers who have had to take on a new hybrid role: part time educator, part time IT assistant, part time virtual entertainer, and, sometimes, fulltime technology expert. Schools and colleges too have faced a steep learning curve when it comes to finding ways to reach students, parents and staff while everyone is at home. And, as lockdown measures begin to relax, many will be wondering how much of this supposed ‘new normal’ will remain and what the education sector will look like in the wake of the pandemic.