Reimagining K-12: Planning a Safe Return to School

By May 7, 2020EdTech
reimagining K-12 schools in Ohio

Reimagining K-12 classrooms is top of mind for every Ohio school adminstrator. Ohio’s governor recently announcing a budget gap due to the cost of COVID-19. Hardest hit by the adjusted budget are K-12 schools, and districts will be asked to tighten their budgets even as they are mandated to deploy distance education programs while also restructuring school environments to bring students back to school safely when restrictions are lifted. It’s an overwhelming challenge for school administrations across the state.

As your school administration works to develop a plan for moving forward and adjusting to what challenges you’ll face in the coming year, thinkCSC is here to help. We have been a proud partner to Ohio schools for more than two decades, and we understand the challenges that are unique to delivering a comprehensive, modern, and secure education on a tight budget.

School Won’t Look the Same Going Forward 

It’s important to recognize that as students begin to return to school, everything will be different. Not only in terms of academics, where you’ll likely have students in need of remedial learning if they did not have adequate access to distance learning during the pandemic, but also in terms of how classrooms are designed and how education is delivered. Even when students are back in class, technology may continue to play a larger role in instruction, assessment, and health management.

Determine Now the Student Information Systems You’ll Need in the Fall 

As students return to class, you’ll be thinking about things like traffic patterns and classroom density, desk spacing and screening processes; but you’ll also need to consider how your student information systems can prevent you from being overwhelmed by the level of monitoring that will need to occur. You may need a more robust system for tracking the health status of students; you may need to have better tools in place to communicate with families, the community, and other stakeholders. And you’ll need to know that the edtech solutions you choose can be supported by your existing infrastructure – and be implemented securely – without sacrificing your obligation to student data security.

Cybersecurity Is Part of the Solution

Schools are obligated by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to protect student data, and schools are big targets for hackers. In addition to having the IT infrastructure necessary to keep your school operational, you need to consider how to keep it safe when reimagining K-12 environments. This means fully vetting edtech vendors, employing the use of SSO (single sign-on protocols), establishing least-privilege protocols, and remaining up to date on software patches and updates.  Read our guide to IT security for schools.

thinkCSC works closely with many Ohio school districts to help keep their data safe and accessible. We deploy innovative, affordable technology to help your schools maximize network efficiencies and minimize external threats. With a specific focus on the needs of educational institutions of every size, we offer unique solutions, dedicated technical support and expertise, and state-of-the-art security solutions specifically designed to meet the unique demands that apply to an educational setting. Contact us to learn more.