15 September 2020 Share
This year’s return to school hasn’t been like any other in living memory.
This year’s return to school hasn’t been like any other in living memory. The challenges are numerous, and made all the worse by the fact that it’s a new situation, so the information is evolving all the time – this removes any comfort in simply knowing what’s what. This has made advising particularly challenging; we want to help and support, but we don’t want to give false information. The COVID working party came up with guidance (1) a few months ago, but knowing we were at the start of an evolving situation decided to fit the guidance to this situation. In light of a new report which has caused considerable concern, a statement has been added; but the most effective thing in keeping you safe are the fundamentals: washing/disinfecting hands and social distancing.
This situation has had a range of effects; it’s developed new language, and gave a small break to nature as pollution decreased as well as all the negative consequences for our nation. The impact on school libraries is diverse: for some school library staff this has added a layer of complexity to their job, while for others this has increased their sense of job insecurity, but for everyone it is a situation that has pushed us to evolve and innovate to allow us to do our jobs.
In charity networks the idea of ‘build back better’ is really taking hold; how can we use where we are currently to improve the future and ensure we’re building back stronger, making permanent changes to address some of the issues we were facing pre-pandemic… It’s an interesting thought, but a challenging one as many charities have been faced with a huge drop in income, at the same time as seeing demand for services increase significantly. How could school libraries ‘build back better’? It’s difficult when you’re in the centre of a storm to look forward and think about what things will be like after the storm, but it’s worth doing – there might be some respite there.
For those working things out in the immediate term, some things which are currently happening in schools are:
However, the short term will disappear all too quickly, as terms do, so think about these things for the long term picture:
We all need support and resources; don’t be afraid to ask what’s been helping colleagues. Personally, social media has been a source of support, resources and laughter, so now might be the time to try it if you’re not online already. At the SLA we have updated the resources page (3), made 7 hours of training available to members in case you weren’t able to catch them the first time ; and will soon be launching webcasts so you can choose when and where you watch the webinars if you can’t catch them live. We’ve also started ‘Meet the Creator’ (4) which is a chance to get to know about some of the books/authors coming out each month, and it’s entirely free to members . I know many of you are still planning online lessons and activities (one of our members is planning to continue with online reading groups to get around the fact that as a rural school transport is a major issue) and you might be interested in this free resource from Clickview which is a ‘Teaching Online Masterclass’ (5) including input from some big names in education.
Hopefully, you’ll find them all useful, and in amongst the stress and worry there are still moments which are making it seem worthwhile; do share them (6) so we can lift community spirits. In the meantime, we’re going to continue doing all we can to support the sector; let us know how we can help you.