In the Coping with Closure series, the PAPER Team explores the implications of changing realities in education: School closures, virtual instruction plans, and the need to support children & families who rely on schools for more than just learning.

As we adapt to our new reality for the coming months (for some of us that may be working from home, and for others it may be a lot of Netflix), our goal at PAPER is to create a space that will highlight different stories and strategies of districts across North America.

As the need for social distancing continues, many aspects of our daily life have changed. Everyone is talking about remote this and remote that, especially the education world.

We saw how almost overnight, schools around the world were forced to shut their doors, most of them expected to make a switch to distance learning. In what ways is our system prepared for such a drastic change in teaching and learning? Firstly, what is school preparedness?

The concept of school preparedness and readiness has always been an integral subject; according to a paper by UNICEF, there are almost 150 definitions of school readiness when searched on Google Scholar. Typically, school preparedness would mean that a student is ready for their day, equipped with the tools and resources to be successful. Right now, the word 'preparedness' carries more weight than ever. Many people are asking themselves: How can my school prepare in the age of COVID-19?

Many families and children rely heavily on schools to provide them with meals, devices, WiFi, and mental health support. For many students, school closure means the closure of a stable, safe environment. Schools are scrambling to deliver on their responsibility of providing resources and support to such students.

Already, we’ve seen many schools and teachers rise to the occasion, striving to maintain as wholesome a learning experiences as they can. Schools have set up community pick-ups for meals, internet providers are offering free services, and some districts have even set up hotlines that their students, parents, and teachers can call for support. But there is a lot more to be done, and many lessons to be learned about our current systems.

Over the next few weeks, we will be dissecting this issue (and others), highlighting stories of resilience in the education world.

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About PAPER

Founded in 2014, Paper is an Educational Support System (ESS) providing students with 24/7 live help & essay review, and teachers with real-time feedback and intervention tools. Paper partners with districts across North America to close the achievement gap and support educational equity.