School districts across the Tri-Valley have responded to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s urge to continue distance learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Parents, students and educators alike are feeling the weight.
It’s no small task to take a public school setting and condense it into bite-sized segments on a digital platform. Teachers share that they’re trying to work around their own family schedules as they hop into Zoom calls for the students. Parents report the struggle of working with kids at home, or trying to homeschool special-needs children who don’t understand the situation and heavily depend on consistent routines. Students who once believed they hated school have cried at the thought of not saying goodbye to their friends and teachers, or the fact that so many anticipated rituals — dances, graduations, field trips — are now collateral damage in the virus’ wake. Administrators are working around the clock, attending countless conference calls to figure out the best means to support their staff and students during this time.
But despite the magnitude of the situation, the resounding message from all perspectives is underscored with hope and the understanding that this too shall pass.
And it shall.
In the meantime, parents can find the tools and support they need within their respective school district websites. But they can also find an abundance of resources online. GoNoodle offers a variety of activities for children to complete at home. Kids can find an entire how-to channel dedicated to building and creating. ABCmouse is another online source for students looking for educational games and puzzles.
On a local level, many businesses and nonprofits are providing programs online. Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center and Bothwell Arts Center launched a free series of art classes for children this week and reported a successful turnout. In addition, the Oakland Zoo is creating a series called “Behind the Scenes,” which offers families a look at zoo life during COVID-19. The episodes launched April 2. Find your favorite niche in the area and look into what they’re offering to virtual audiences.
While resources abound online for families in need of activities, it’s easy for parents to feel the pressure of not doing “enough” or not even knowing where to start. But it’s important to remember your students’ teachers and school district administrators understand this pressure; they aren’t expecting you to transform into a fully functioning educator.
Angie Covil, director of high school for California Virtual Academies — a public homeschool charter that’s actively supporting traditional school districts throughout the Bay Area as they transition to a digital format — noted , the best thing parents can do right now is to give themselves a little grace. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Forgive yourself for being substandard or completely frazzled, for that matter. Ultimately, your stress level will impact your child far more than your perfection.
For links to the resources, visit https://californiasciencecenter.org/stuck-at-home-science,