This is a strange time. The District just announced that schools will be closed through the end of Spring Break and the governor has said that it is unlikely that schools will open again this school year.
As I read about what is going on in the economy and the service industry, I’m very thankful that I work in a job that continues to pay me every month and I have the safety of a pension in the future. Not everyone is so lucky.
This is a huge disruption not only to us, it is a huge disruption to our students as well. They cannot see their friends. Their routines have been completely upset. And some of their home situations aren’t good either. Their parent may still be going to work or, worse yet, they may have lost their job. Some parents may be well equipped to deal with children at home all day, but others might be desperately looking for ways to entertain them.
If you have been on social media at all, you have seen how some teachers have been supporting their students already. They are lecturing through podcasts, sending out assignments through email, setting up on-line group learning, and updating their grades. With the help of some teachers who volunteered, the District has been getting packets to parents.
In an effort to add to these efforts, VTA is currently talking to the district about ways we can provide learning opportunities for students despite the school closures. We are not expecting teachers to completely replace their classroom time with on-line curriculum. We aren’t set up to do that and some of our students aren’t either. But we can provide them with some curriculum and opportunities to continue learning. What this looks like for different subjects, different teachers, and different age groups will vary and the guidelines will be very general. The District has said that they will be very flexible. We also want to make sure we aren’t overloading students who may already be in a stressful situation, and yet we need to offer students some stability and opportunities to learn.
We will have more information on this very soon. If you aren’t sure what to do now, just wait until we have more guidance.
Above all, take care of yourself. Wash your hands. Don’t go in to school. The custodial staff has been cleaning sites thoroughly and if you go in they have to clean your room again. Someday we’ll look back on this and talk about toilet paper shortages and school closures and social distancing as distant memories. I hope you are with family and safe and comfortable. I hope you have some good books and a long Netflix list lined up. Please keep yourself and your family safe and try not to obsess over the news. We will get through this.