School Closures, Teachers, and Online Learning

In what may come as a blow to both working and stay-at-home parents, California Governor Gavin Newsom stated on March 17th that the state’s schools will likely remain closed through the end of the school year: “I would plan for, and assume, it is unlikely that any of our schools will open before the summer break.” The Governor added that California has applied for a federal waiver that would excuse students from having to take academic tests once schools reopen. I’m sure this news added to the anxiety of parents (especially working parents) already coping with unforeseen disruptions in their children’s daily lives…what about the teachers who teach those kids? I’m married to one: my wife Meg has been a teacher in the Rocklin Unified School District for 24 years, and she’s never had to use the new “Distance Learning Model” with second graders before. My amazing wife becomes very emotional when we talk about how she’s connecting  with her students in an online format; there’s only so much you can do with Google Meet. Is it an adjustment to have your kids home when they’d normally be at school? Probably for most, and it’s an extreme adjustment for their teachers not to be involved with them in a colorful learning environment like their classroom. Are students going to lose out on education because of this pandemic? Maybe not, but we all have to do everything we can to support our teachers’ efforts so our kids don’t lose out on important connections, either.

John Young