As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, repression and prevention measures are ever important to “flatten the curve”. Many of these measures involve prohibiting large gatherings and canceling events in order to best encourage social distancing and prevent transmission of the virus. Amongst these closures and cancellations have been huge school closures, and for many Californian students and teachers, we do not know when or if, in-person instruction will resume this school year.
While most students and teachers may experience closures or implementation of remote learning, Every student, teacher, school, and district is effected differently. Students of different ages have different needs from the educational environment.
6th-grade teacher at Pony Express, Erin Duarte explained “I teach 6th grade. I think the biggest impact is not the academic part but the connection. Since the end of August we had built a classroom culture and routines and a family. For some kids, that is an extension of the support they have at home, and for others it is the place they go to feel safe and escape.”
While many people are struggling with the emotional implications of social distancing, this can be especially difficult for children who may not be able to express how they are feeling easily. This means it is more important than ever to support young students in not only their academic but also their personal development.
Davina Martinez, a teacher at Pony Express Elementary explained “I am currently teaching 3rd grade so my students are 8 and 9 years old. They are bright, creative, energetic, and aware of what’s going on around them. They love having a daily schedule and being with their classmates and friends. That being said, they are hanging in there!”
In addition to issues with lack of interaction, there have been many issues with perfecting a rapid and equitable transition to remote instruction. Duarte continued, “I’m trying to connect online with my students – many jumped on right away, but others either can’t or don’t know how, and can’t reach out to let me know. For some, I think it’s too hard – it’s a reminder of what they’re going without. “
“I wish right now the academic standards would be put on hold – the kids will be ok – they will not be behind because the entire world is going through the same thing.”
While not much is clear about what the future holds for students, one thing is extremely evident: local teachers will continue to work to provide the most educational and enriching experience to their students in times of uncertainty.
Martinez continued “I am waiting for information from the school district in regards to how we will be distance learning/teaching. Until then, I will be giving my families suggested activities, as well as, encouraging them to just spend time together whether it’s gardening, walking the dog, reading, or cooking together. . . I miss my kids and would love to be back in the classroom with them, but until then, we will do what we need to to make it work.”
As school staff is hard at work to provide quality instruction to students; there are other free educational resources currently available for students. For example, PBS provides educational content regarding a variety of subjects for all ages.