As the school year kicks off with many many many more questions than answers, companies and schools are looking to fill the void that brick and mortar schools may leave. Which begs the question: with brick and mortar retail disappearing, will traditional schools be next?
At the college level, with estimates of as much as 40% of incoming freshmen, and 28% of returning students, saying they do not consider in-person college an option for the fall, the option of online schools at a fraction of the cost is quickly becoming an attractive opportunity. Many not-for-profit and for-profit schools are looking to fill positions to bridge the gap so this year it is not a complete loss to students. According to a July 24th article from Jobflex, “30 Companies That Hire for Part-Time, Remote Work-From-Home Jobs”, more than half are education-related, and are looking for mainly online positions.
Online and traditional universities are looking to hire for online learning only positions. These schools include Rasmussen College, Independence University, Grand Canyon, Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado State University, and others and at all levels. Schools like Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts are staffing online support roles, but not teachers. All this is happening while at the same time colleges and universities all over the country are laying off and furloughing staff at record numbers. Over 50,000 as of the beginning of July according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. With few having any idea of a rehire date or if there will be one.
Other companies such as K12, Kaplan, and Achieve Test Prep are looking to fill the needs of elementary, middle and high school children. Hiring a wide range of positions such as P.E., art, and general teachers along with school psychologists. These are great options if you can afford it and have a parent who can stay home.
With Mid September quickly approaching and no end to the pandemic in sight, many parents and students are in an absolute scramble, and filled with uncertainty.
It is also important to note that many private preschools and kindergartens have exemptions from protocols in some states. Some are allowing parents to sign waivers so the parents can get their children into classrooms allowing them to go back to work.
This may seem like a simple “well if you can afford it you get that perk” but putting aside for one moment what this shows about the obvious equity gaps in the educational system when it comes to money. This can create many unforeseen problems.
RNN spoke to one teacher at a private pre-school. This teacher has multiple elementary school age children of their own in public school. The single parent stated to us that if their own children were to not go back to school and the school where they work needs them to go back. “The learning model for my children would start at the end of my workday”. Thus putting the children in 6 to 7 hours of non age appropriate class time to go home and start homeschooling via whatever model the school decides whenever it decides.
This limbo on all fronts is causing anxiety for the entire educational system. And being there are no options for online babysitters or nannies, parents students educators janitors, groundskeepers, and anyone who can't take advantage of the many online opportunities that are out there have no choice but to hurry up and wait.
Meantime, the online providers continue to staff up: a bellwether that signals they don't expect in-person classes learning to last very far into the fall.
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