As we enter into our third week of quarantine and no end in sight, schools are starting to close for the school year. This leaves a lot of questions about what will happen with students’ education. Many states have already dismissed state testing for the year. So, some schools are left thinking about how they will fill the gaps for their students.
Some schools already had online, digital learning in place. This program was originally set up for short term days missed–like snow days. But it has actually worked for many schools during this extended recess from school. Teachers can post lessons, videos, and activities online for their students. The students can then ask the teacher questions through the messaging app or work collaboratively with other students on their assignments. While this program has been great for schools that have already implemented this technology, many schools do not have this capability. And it would be almost impossible to roll out during this time and try to teach teachers, students, and parents how the program works.
So what about all the schools we don’t already have online learning in place? This has proven a little more difficult for them. Many teachers were instructed to send their students’ books home with them every evening in the middle of March, just in case. This has allowed teachers to send assignments to parents or students and the students can refer to their textbooks for help. Teachers can assign certain pages and questions in their textbooks to complete after they have read each lesson. This is not ideal learning, but it may be the only options schools have.
The last resort for some school districts have been worksheet packets. The teachers have gone into school and copied packets for each student to be distributed in front of the school building. These packets contain two weeks worth of activities for the core subjects. Distribution worked fine until the rules and restrictions got a little bit tighter. Now, schools are scrambling because the state recommends that no more than 5 people gather at a time. The solution to this is mailing the packets. Teachers have to come in, print the packets, and use packaging supplies to package up the worksheets.
Packaging supplies can add up, so a lot of local businesses have been donating supplies to schools so students can get their packets. The packets also have to be limited because the cost of shipping goes up with every new paper added to the package.