Until Covid-19, many families in the U.S. ruled out private-school education for their children because of the cost. Yet as the coronavirus raged on, parents increasingly sought out schools that were entirely in-person rather than remote - and, for many, that meant switching to an independent institution, regardless of the price tag. According to a recent survey by EdChoice, about 41% of parents were more likely to prefer a private education for their children post-pandemic. Here are a few reasons why parents made the switch from public to private school during Covid-19:
The Switch to Distance Learning Was Slow in the Public Sector
Parents saw how different private and public schools transitioned to distance and hybrid learning at the start of the pandemic, and some weren’t pleased with what they saw in the public realm. In March of 2020, there were reports of almost 35% of public-school children that had not yet begun distance learning. While many public schools sent home student work packets that often did not count towards the students’ required education, private schools were able to continue to provide the grade-level curriculum and the lessons that were planned by teachers to count toward education requirements.
How Heights Compared: Heights was able to implement a distance learning program in a matter of days at the start of the pandemic, with nearly 100% responsiveness. Our school made sure that we had technology for everyone who came to get it and thought about equity of access to learning before diving in 100 percent with required work. Our leadership team also created contingency plans to include live and recorded instruction with teachers, core and elective/auxiliary classes virtually, teacher online office hours, homework assistance, and weekly chapels recorded for students.
Small Class Sizes Made Social Distancing Easier in Private School
Private schools that were able to bring students back for in-person learning and had the advantages of small class sizes and large outdoor spaces that made social distancing easier. Donations and discretionary funds also made it possible for schools to upgrade classrooms quickly to implement health and safety measures.
How Heights Compared: Health and safety measures were implemented immediately upon return to in-person instruction. Safety measures including face coverings required indoors for HCS faculty and staff and for all students, age 2 years and older; physical distancing between students indoors; and implementing prevention strategies include masking, acrylic partitions, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, daily cleaning and disinfecting.
Flexibility for Private Schools to Design Pandemic Schedules Meant More In-Person Learning
At the height of the pandemic, California public schools were required to keep students with the same cohort of classmates every day, limiting class sizes to 10 students and maintain six feet of social distancing. This restriction made reopening schools in the public sector complicated because students would take classes with different teachers and peers. California’s private schools, however, were able to have more freedom to design their own pandemic school day, while students were able to switch classrooms, enabling them to operate closer to a normal academic day.
How Heights Compared: With less bureaucracy to answer to, private schools have always been more nimble than their public counterparts. This flexibility enabled Heights to quickly revamp everything from facilities and curriculum. HCS formed a COVID-19 Task Force (CTF) comprised of HCS administrators and district leaders to ensure prudent steps were taken to keep students, staff and those in our communities as safe as possible, while adhering to local, state, and federal health orders; and providing children with the education, physical activity and social-emotional health benefits to ensure they continue to meet educational requirements.
The Bottom Line
Thanks to the commitment and financial investment of parents who transitioned their children from public to private schools during Covid-19, their children were often able to continue learning without skipping a beat, and while avoiding many of the educational stresses that came with trying to learn at home during the pandemic.
How Heights Continues to Meet the Needs of All Learners
During the outbreak in March 2020, when the original Shelter in Place orders were issued, we were remarkably proud of the HCS community. Our faculty and staff rose to the occasion and worked diligently to continue to meet the needs of our students. Parents were incredibly gracious, partnering with us as we navigated unchartered territory. As a result, we were able to finish the school year successfully and continue to provide excellent academic instruction to over 2,000 students. Emergency childcare was available for first responders, health professionals and essential service providers on many of the HCS campuses, and all preschool families enjoyed At-Home Activity Ideas for their little ones while not on campus.
As we walk through this pandemic together, each of our school communities continue to demonstrate remarkable patience, strength and endurance as we trust in the Lord, support one another and allow those watching to see Jesus.
ABOUT HEIGHTS CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS
Heights Christian Schools has developed a vision of serving the community by offering private education that is affordable to as much of the populace as possible. Partnering with parents since 1981, our schools provide a small campus feel where students are known by name and embraced as individuals, with the support, resources, and collaboration of a large, well-established school system. Heights Christian Schools provides a secure and nurturing educational environment for children, 6-weeks old through 8th grade. Our schools are known for the quality of student life, the strength of their academic programs, a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, and tremendous support from parents and families. Heights Christian Schools seek to educate students to know Christ personally, excel academically, think biblically, and positively impact their community for Christ. Currently, our schools serve the communities in and around Brea, Chino Hills, La Habra Heights, and La Mirada. To learn more, visit us online at heightschristianschools.org or call 714-921-9070.
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