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Teaching the essentials is most important right now

Teacher Meagan Ferris balances teaching her first grade students and helping her three daughters during distance learning.

by Trinity Gruenberg

Distance learning has been the educational approach since the COVID-19 epidemic shut down schools across the state.

The school districts and staff were given from March 18 to March 27 to develop their distance learning plans. At the time, there was hope of returning to school the beginning of May. Schools ended up being closed for the remainder of the school year.

No concerts, no prom and all the uncertainty put a kink in graduation plans. Also, schools were forced to look at the critical, essential parts of their curriculum.

“Priority number one is the well being, health and safety of all of our families and students. Number two is we’re going to have them do some academic growth in a different format,” said Verndale Superintendent Paul Brownlow.

He explained that distance learning is not an ideal environment as students could not participate in sports or connect with their friends and the focus was on learning and schoolwork.

Above: Preschooler Tatum Ferris watches a video from her teacher Alicia Johnson.

“This is an incredible burden on parents. The fact that some of them didn’t sign up to be teachers and they still have full time jobs. We have to be able to have some of that reasonableness as well,” said Brownlow.

Distance learning relied on the Internet. Approximately five percent of their students don’t have access. Those students are kept in the loop with weekly homework packets.

Some of the more hands-on classes like music, art and shop have found ways to keep their students engaged by doing simple things at home like listening to different kinds of music, planting flowers and cleaning up the yard. . . .



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