Thursday, March 12, 2020

COVID-19 School Closings: Uncharted Waters

Closing school due to a pandemic is an example of uncharted waters. We have not done that before.

Yet, today, at the end of the school day, we were asked to send students home with their computers and chargers. We added science books and a math assignment. Earlier in the week, just-in-case, we developed an online menu should school have to close. Only a few minutes ago, I received the call noting that school would be closed for two weeks due to this pandemic and the desire to slow down the contagion as advised by public health officials.

I've read quite a bit about the virus, and must say that I whole heartedly agree with this decision. Articles from Italy warn us about not taking this pandemic seriously.

After going through this, I would advise other school teachers to do the following:

Organize and clean up your classroom
Similar to when I was expecting a baby, I experienced a bit of "nesting" this week as the virus hit--I felt an urge to clean up the classroom, organize materials, and ready for the unknown. I'm happy that I did that.

Prepare for learning at home
Teachers at our system prepared online menus for student study. We also readied a few packets and sent home some books and materials for student study. This provides students and families who choose to continue studies, what they need to study at home.

Give students a chance to talk about the situation in developmentally appropriate ways
Our class discussed the situation. Children shared their points of view and personal experiences. I shared facts from reputable websites. I emphasized that this is a new event so everyone is trying to do their best and looking to the experts for guidance.

Look for the light in the darkness
As the old adage states, "When a door closes, a window opens," which demonstrates that this unexpected event opens up new opportunities. I plan to work on starting seedlings for a summer garden, do some spring cleaning, care for family members, and respond to my learners online.

Like most people, I'm curious about what will happen in the days and weeks ahead. This is a day-by-day event. Onward.