Reopening Schools Amid COVID-19: From the Eyes of Our Children and Educators

students wearing face coverings on playground

Practitioner brief summarizes pilot program learnings and recommendations for reopening schools amid COVID-19.

In March 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic forced schools throughout the United States to make a rapid shift to remote teach­ing and learning in a matter of days. For the 2020-2021 academic year, schools are faced with designing plans to reopen under multiple restrictions that require school site administrators to alter standard operations. Whether or not schools actually open, a disproportionate burden will fall on children of color and those families and schools with minimal resources. State and county health guidelines have been useful, yet little is known from school site leaders, parents and students about how best to implement the guidelines and what is needed to optimize a smooth reopening for students, their families and teachers. “Reopening Our Schools: From the Eyes of Our Children and Educators” is a practitioner brief that summarizes the findings of a UCLA Lab School pilot program conducted in July 2020. The brief draws on observations and verbal and written feedback to share the voices and views of students, educators, parents and caregivers as they implemented public health guidelines designed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in a school setting. The brief is intended to be of public service in support of the re-opening of schools. It starts with providing context and descriptions of the UCLA Lab School Fall Readiness Pilot Program 2020 and its participants. The purpose is to assist school site administrators, educators and parents in making logistical decisions and operational adjustments to support students’ instructional and social-emotional success, focusing on direct feedback from students, parents and school site educators in three areas: 1) use of face coverings, 2) physical distancing, and 3) symptom monitoring. The paper concludes with 12 specific recommendations.

Download the Reopening Schools practitioner brief here (PDF)