On March 12, I sat around a conference room table with a group of school leaders and listened to Governor Mike DeWine announce that all Ohio schools would have an extended closure of three weeks due to COVID-19. Our students were already heading home that day while we started processing the information shared and determined our next steps. We quickly determined based on the information shared, our students would not be returning the next day. The extended closure would start immediately.
Right away we started planning.
- How were we going to feed our students?
- How would our students receive their mental health services?
- How would our students receive their learning?
- How would our students receive their support services (Title I, Special Education, ELL Services, etc.)?
- How do we support our staff?
- What does remote learning look like?
- Will all our students have access?
- How do we minimize the disparity remote learning could cause?
- Will our students be safe?
- How do we support families?
- How do we not overwhelm families?
It is now almost two weeks later, and my mind continues to cycle through many of these questions.
Our email has been inundated with webinars, suggested resources, and questions. Trying to sort through what will add value to our students’ lives under the current circumstances and not just be one more thing to add to all the noise. Maribel Valdez Gonzalez (2020) wrote a fantastic article for Teaching Tolerance, A Healthy Reminder to Educators During School Closures. The article provides perspective many of us are searching for in this uncertain time. Maribel (2020) writes: Remind yourself every day that this is a stressful time for students and their families and that everyone is trying their best. We should only be concerned about their health and well-being.
So, as we all navigate this new temporary reality, let’s give one another grace and kindness. We will make mistakes, but need to remember we are all showing up and doing our best. Let’s remember that everyone is adjusting to these circumstances. Check on one another. Be available to one another. We are better together! Stay well!