Across the United States, communities are feeling the impact of coronavirus — and nowhere more so than in public schools.
Many cities and states have announced school closings, and more are likely to come. As with so many events affecting our nation, teachers are on the frontlines of this crisis.
At DonorsChoose, our mission is to support teachers, whether it’s during a normal school day or in the midst of a natural disaster. Right now, we’re hard at work exploring options for how our community of classroom supporters can help during this challenging time. As always, that work starts by listening to teachers. Here’s what we’re hearing about how they’re keeping their students safe and trying to limit disruptions to their learning.
Preparing for (and responding to) school closings
As schools across the country continue to close, teachers are preparing for distance learning. Like so many people, teachers are conflicted about the closings.
From an educator in Missouri: “I'm relieved our school is closed. I have an immunocompromised child at home; I’m her primary caregiver. If today had been a regular school day, I would have 200 kids per day in my classroom, under the age of 10, all returning from their spring break travels last week.”
And from one Pennsylvania teacher: “I worry about my inner city students. I have texted all of them trying to let them know I’m here. I’m using our class Facebook page to update them on resources and just to stay connected.”
In addition to academic concerns, many educators are also helping students in need gain access to food and other essential items. Many districts are offering “grab and go” meals for students while school is out.
Keeping classrooms clean
For schools that are still open, the moment-to-moment concern is keeping kids healthy and classrooms free from germs. A teacher in our community shared: “Custodians are doing extra cleaning on high touch surfaces. I swear they cleaned my classroom doorknob 3-4 times yesterday during school hours. And teachers are being issued containers of disinfectant wipes for computers.”
Even the basics can be challenging; getting 25 students to wash their hands properly 5 times a day is no small feat.
Teachers are also working to keep themselves and their families safe, and staying connected with one another remotely. Says a teacher in Ohio: “We will support each other. Share materials. Share ideas. Share comfort."