Sunday night, our school district, Avon Community School Corporation, informed us an elementary school student had been confirmed to have the Coronavirus. The district would be closed Monday as an e-learning day. The elementary school would be closed until after Spring Break in April.
This afternoon, the district held a press conference in collaboration with the Hendricks County Health Department. At the press conference it was announced the entire district would be closed until after Spring Break and all extracurricular activities would also be canceled. So, for the next two weeks, e-learning would be taking place, followed by the two week Spring Break.
As you might imagine, there is a little fear involved in knowing this virus is so close to home. There is also worry about the students who have been infected (a second student was showing symptoms at the time of the press conference) and their families. There is also concern about the effectiveness of e-learning.
As a parent, and as a human, I appreciate the swift decision. This virus, so far, is showing how quickly it can spread without anyone knowing, and how deadly it can be in the mortality rate. It is also puts me, and so many families, in a bind for the next month, especially those families who have younger children whom most definitely can’t be home alone (I worry about my teens being home alone for the next four weeks).
Some things I, as a parent, hope Avon is doing and has thought about:
- I hope the learning being presented to students is as rigorous, or maybe even more so, than being in the classroom. The work should take more than 15-minutes to complete for the day.
- I hope teachers are online at the same time as their normal class, checking in and conversing with students throughout the period to ensure students are present, accounted for, and engaged in the learning. Teachers have the capability, at a minimum, to have group chats and discussions. Hopefully Central Office has emphasized these are student learning days and teachers must be engaged with the students as if it is a regular learning day. Loss of two weeks of instruction could be detrimental to many students.
- I hope they have taken into consideration how to meet the needs of their IEP and EL students, and how their needs will be met through distance learning. I wonder about their ancillary services as well, such as speech, PT and OT.
- I hope attendance is being taken for each class.
- I hope hourly employees have been thought of as usually if there is no school, there is no pay. Hourly employees already have it hard enough as they aren’t scheduled enough hours to earn benefits, such as health insurance, that not being paid for a month could create an extreme hardship for non-exempt employees—they shouldn’t have to use sick or personal time. Since the budget was already set to be able to pay them their normal hours, hopefully Avon CSC is doing the right thing and paying them as it was the District’s decision to close for these two weeks.
I do appreciate the concern for the safety and welfare of my children, and of all students. May this decision help all of us to stay healthy throughout this global crisis.
Stay safe everyone and remember to wash those hands!