The summer of 2020 was not easy especially in Arizona. Temperatures soared over 100° and the state hit record highs for coronavirus. It became a battle of health vs. politics as President Trump ignored the warnings of health professionals in his quest to get students back to school, adults back to the workplace, the economy improving, so he could get reelected in November.
Monday July 6, 2020
For the next two weeks my daughter Tracy in Gilbert, Arizona is teaching a daily summer school program from 8:00am - 12:00 pm to a small group of six students following an online curriculum.
Tracy will be in a classroom but the 6th grade students will be online. The school will be empty except for a few other teachers in similar programs. No masks needed when alone once inside their daily sanitized classrooms.
Tracy is hoping this isn't the new norm because she misses having students in her classroom enjoying the work and the fun things they do during the school year as she teaches gifted children with interests in technology. We agree that children need the interaction with the teacher in the classroom and with their peers. The fall semester is still in question in many states and cities.
For now she will do her best to help and inspire the children who probably would rather be out playing.
Friday July 10, 2020
The first day was a struggle as everyone adjusted - but as the days go by learning takes hold following curriculum guidelines. Sadly with coronavirus case is surging in Arizona - Tracy will be teaching from home next week.
As the new school semester in Arizona begins the last week of July this could be the new norm as cities around the country explore options for the education systems which go to - public schools, Catholic schools, private schools, and charter schools. Home schooling - which I have always been against as I believe in interacting with peers - now looks like a good option if someone is home to monitor the children. Neither teachers, students, nor parents are happy about it hoping things change in the months ahead though hoping online programs improve.
Thursday July 9, 2020
Children are suffering in different ways when it comes to education. Perhaps bullying - and the fear of classroom shootings - has gone away which makes some children happy but there are so many positive things that they embrace while in school mostly in the form of creativity, special programs, and socialization.
Opening schools safely during a pandemic, and being able to stay open, requires careful planning and spending significant amounts of time and money for safety - testing, cleaning, technology, meal programs, logistics, and social-distancing procedures. This will be difficult enough for the average student but others with special needs are really going to pay an educational and emotional price.
Across the political spectrum, there have been calls for the reopening of U.S. schools this fall for many reasons - remote learning went badly in the spring as educational systems, teachers, and parents were not ready to address the emotional and mental needs of students.
A fall semester without in-person school would leave students further behind, and many parents without child care and the ability to return to work.
In countries where coronavirus numbers are reducing schools are starting to open with different platforms.
This will be the case in the US while suffering by far with the worst coronavirus outbreak of any affluent country. The federal government appears to be throwing us under the (school) bus.
Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that it is up to the governors to decide when and how school districts will open this fall not Trump. Different regions of NY State will open according to their metrics for coronavirus.
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