Since traditional classes ended on March 12, 2020, my district has communicated with families about how it would continue to provide services such as nutrition, social/emotional support, and instruction. It has established a system of meal distribution, provided needy families with devices to connect to the internet, and given students access to various web-based resources which can help their intellectual and social growth.
On March 25, the district announced that its goal was to familiarize students with the sites, resources and instructional materials that were available online. As the transmission of the Coronavirus increased, and school closures were extended (currently to May 15th), the district directed teachers to make additional assignments available to students. Parents and students were encouraged to check their school emails and log in regularly.
To assist in this massive undertaking, training and technical support has been available. The district has also coordinated with the local internet provider to help families obtain Wi-Fi. Of course, many still struggle with this mode of education. The district has acknowledged that since “online school” is new, everything may not fall into place right away. Still, the message has been transmitted that, while we separate from each other physically, we will get through this time together, as a community.
Our building principal has told staff that outreach continues on a daily basis. The focus on social/emotional health is apparent through these posts on the district website. The school's website also lists information about food distribution at sites throughout the city. Support staff reaches out to students and families regularly. (As a teacher, I am sometimes included on electronic communications with students and parents.) And, based on the video chats and posts of my colleagues, instruction (through varying modes) is being delivered by teachers.
Gertrude Katz has spent over 30 years teaching K-12 public school students all major subjects. She has taught biology and education at the college level. The majority of her career has been spent instructing biology at the secondary level.