Minnesota parents and students received something of an unexpected spring break the week of March 16, except this one was not any fun. Gov. Tim Walz ordered that all schools must stay closed through March 27, at the least, in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, the highly contagious illness caused by the unusual coronavirus.
The move leaves more than 850,000 Minnesota students out of the classroom and more than 135,000 school employees out of work. For parents, there were immediate questions regarding how to keep students learning despite the classroom hiatus. Several parents pitched questions and ideas for keeping kids learning amid the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 25, 2020, Governor Walz authorized the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period beginning on March 30, 2020, until May 4, 2020. A few schools in the zone have begun to delay occasions like prom and graduation. Neighborhood seniors and their families trust they can at present praise these occasions since they’ve just missed a piece of their senior year.
At the beginning of this crisis, Walz gave schools two days of in-school learning to talk to students, wrap things up, and get students’ belongings cleaned out. For NUHS this followed our week-long spring break, so we only had two days before it was all gone again. After these two days, students were given the rest of the week off before adjusting to online learning and being stuck at home.
It was announced that students would have all of their courses provided to them online through sites like Google Classroom, Zoom, Nearpod, and other sites that teachers would learn about along the way. Each student is required to submit some form of attendance at the time that their normal class period would be, in order to create a structure to their day and keep them on the right track. Along with all of this despair, events for NUHS such as prom and graduation have been either canceled or postponed until COVID-19 has slowed and bans have been lifted.
On the bright side, NUHS staff have done their best to make this time of fear a little bit more comfortable and manageable for students and parents. Teachers are available to students when help is needed during the school hours of 8 am-3 pm, and even then some afterward through email, phone call, or sometimes text.
Zoom meeting have been a great resource to still get social interaction ‘face-to-face’ with teachers and peers and give teachers an easier way to truly check in with students. Principal Mark Bergmann has also sent out emails to students regarding what he knows is going on and to reassure students of any problems or questions they have had.
Food staff at all three public schools have been working hard to get breakfast and lunches prepared and distributed to students who normally depend on school for these important meals. Parents were given the option to pick these up at their designated school or to pick it up at specific drop spots throughout town. On social media, teachers and students have posted encouraging pictures and videos for their peers to see.
As this is a hard time for everyone, students, staff, and parents have done a remarkable job to make this feel as normal as possible.