By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Schools across the country are shuttered. Millions of students are home, trying to slow the spread of coronavirus.
It’s Day 2 of at state mandated school closure that Gov. Kate Brown extended Tuesday until April 28th.
Many students were sent home with homework or are receiving assignments through digital platforms, but now the challenge shifts to keeping students connected and engaged.
Ginny Ann Fillmore of Bend is a grandmother to Rosalie, a kindergartner and Christian, a preschooler.
She is making them do homework, interspersed with lots of playtime.
“The school sent the older one home with some homework. It’s in a packet. Everyday we pull something out. We sit down and go through it and then she’s got the rest of the day to play. The younger one is working on things like his numbers and his letters a little bit,” Fillmore said.
Laura Taylor of Bend turned her home into a mini kindergarten for daughters Amelia, 6, and Casey, 3.
Sure, there was some free time mixed in for watching educational shows and recess, but Taylor had a schedule for the kids and tried to stick to it as much as possible.
“If I just have one or two projects throughout the day and no schedule, they’ll argue about each choice,” she said. “If they have a schedule like at school they’ll accept it more and work independently. It also gave me some structure to help figure out some things we could be doing to continue with their learning.”
Walks outside led to discussions on snowflakes and clouds. St. Patrick’s Day meant shamrock arts and crafts.
“I want to keep them engaged and keep them in some kind of routine,” Taylor said. “I don’t want them to think this is just an extended Spring Break.”
It is strange going into a school at a time of day when it should be bustling with students.
Redmond Proficiency Academy, like many schools, is using online platforms, such as Google Classroom to send and receive assignments from students stuck at home.
“I think the difficult part for anyone going to an online platform is student engagement,” said Jon Bullock, Redmond Proficiency Academy executive director. “It’s really dependent on the student engaging when it’s online learning because we aren’t all collected in the same space and we don’t have ways to ensure that students are participating.”
The nationwide school closures are occurring at a time students would normally be preparing for state and national assessments tests.
Bullock says national education boards will have to decide whether to delay such tests.
Check with your student’s school or individual teachers for any class work they may make available on digital platforms.