Yesterday we had our first big snow storm in New York. For many schools this meant their first snow day. For other schools, they opted to resume classes virtual despite the weather since schools are fully equipped to learn from home. Even COVID has impacted the sacred snow day we all cherish so much in the northeast.
In light of our first snow fall, it’s important to remember how the pandemic is still affecting our schools, our teachers, our kids, and our normal traditions like a snow day. Some schools have switched from hybrid to fully virtual until the end of the year due to increase COVID cases, while others are still trying to keep normalcy with in-person learning.
This next teacher and her students don’t get to experience the excitement of a snow day, since they live in South Carolina. Their version of a snow day isn’t as fun since usually it involved a hurricane or natural disaster. So meet Carolina Voyager Charter School Guidance Counselor (K-5), Kristina Lindgren.
What does a “normal” day at school look like for you since the pandemic?
Lots of separation. Our school especially loves school wide celebrations, assemblies, joint recess time together and this year that just can’t happen.
All classes are their own cohort and can’t not mix with other classes. There is some sadness to that but obviously makes us all safer. We try to make our school day as normal as possible but you notice the difference with the separation, plastic barriers and masks now a crucial part of our day. For me personally since I am a Guidance Counselor I get to see a variety of students in my room. Before this year I was able to help children with their social skills by pulling students from different classes. This helped them build connections throughout the school and not just with students from their class. This year I am not able to do that which I think hurts the students.
What type of remote schedule and rules have been put into place as a response to the pandemic? What type of remote learning accommodations were made for the students and teachers?
If a student or teacher gets COVID that whole class affected will quarantine for 14 days and learn virtually. So far this school year we have had 3 classrooms that needed to quarantine and teachers set up zooms immediately and used google classroom for assignments to be posted.
What do you miss the most about being in school full-time teaching? What do you think your students miss the most?
I am back in school full time and I do love being able to see the kids faces everyday in person. I am not a morning person but as soon as I walk into the school and see all those kids’ faces waving at me and excited, it makes me realize why I do my job.
When we went virtual back in March, my job completely changed. I “put out fires” throughout the day.
When virtual that wasn’t happening obviously. The best parts of my day are helping kids feel better, helping kids solve problems that arise in their day, and helping kids build friendships. That happens best face to face in the building!
What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about teachers and schools currently?
The BIGGEST misconception is that teachers don’t have to do much for online learning and that it is easier. It’s not. Teachers work days do not stop when virtual, they work longer days than when in the building. They are answering questions all day and all night long. They have to take more time to plan and come up with creative ways to keep students engaged and learning.
What advice do you have for other teachers and parents to help them get through this school year?
The best advice I can give is something that my principal always tells us…
“Stay Calm, Stay Healthy and Keep Learning.”