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Pandemic Learning Curve
Jill Gartman | Pine Needles Drive

A historic pandemic has brought pandemonium to the education of children of all ages across the world. Kenya is scrapping the 2020 school year altogether and announced all students must repeat their lost year. In the U.S. last March, the shutdown of schools caught both schools and parents by surprise. Parents became their children’s everything when stay at home orders were put in place - educators, playmates, and parents. Historic numbers of parents were juggling home schooling with working a job to keep themselves financially afloat.

Parents are worried their children are already behind from what was lost in the spring, and still aren’t sure what the upcoming school year will bring. With daily changes, parents struggle to stay updated on school plans and evolving health orders by the county and state, plus conflicting and shifting demands of the various stakeholders.

While some in Del Mar are sticking with traditional local public school and hoping for the state to allow in-person learning, many others have already abandoned tradition for alternatives that feel more safe and comfortable. Some are taking the plunge and homeschooling this next year, either alone or in small groups. Others prefer distance learning through their public school, supplemented by outside tutors and private teachers.

One Del Mar family, after a chaotic spring experience of distance learning with three different schools, has opted to enroll all three of their children in the same charter school as a way to more easily manage distance learning as a family, which is what most children in California will be required to do for the start of the school year.

Other Del Mar families who have otherwise been happy with public education have now decided to switch to private school for reasons that vary. Smaller schools are thought to be more able to meet the health criteria for in person learning, and some private schools are offering the ability to toggle between distance and in-person learning by offering live streaming of classes at any time.

With parents working from home now, a few families have chosen to move out of Del Mar to other cities where COVID-19 case counts are lower and in person instruction is more likely to resume.

No matter what families are choosing to do, it remains unknown what the impact will be educationally and what the coming year will bring. The only certainty is things will be decidedly different.



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