It’s an interesting time in education. As we all know, New Hampshire leaders have asked us to stay home through May 4 to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means keeping up with school online to the best of our abilities. Now, we’re all about a month in to our “new normal.” So, how’s it going so far?
NH community colleges continue operations online
New Hampshire’s community colleges had a head start as 1 in 5 courses were already designed to be delivered online. However, some of the on-campus courses; like culinary, automotive, and biology labs; took a bit of innovation to continue. Currently, professors are navigating this through video lessons, virtual labs, and expanding hours into the summer session.
In the background, student support staff have extended payment deadlines, increased outreach, and scheduled tutoring sessions over Zoom.
Thankfully many students report feeling supported by their faculty and advisers, and equipped to complete the spring semester. Sitting in on a recent Student Senate session over Zoom, it was heartening to hear students talk about the sense of support from their college community. One member noted:
I think everybody’s really coming together, like other crises; everyone really comes together when times get tough.”
K-12 goes remote
K-12 schools are in a different boat. While most schools use online classroom management platforms like Canvas and Powerschool; they still had in-person class to deliver lessons, answer questions, and make sure students are present and paying attention.
Working from home, I’m watching this experience unfold for my husband, a public high school teacher.
He’s feeling supported by the administration and colleagues, and many students are putting in a good-faith effort to complete lessons. However, the move online depends on a high level of organization from students who are used to the oversight of in-person instruction.
The upside is teachers know this, and they are supporting students with constant Zoom tutorials, video explanations of lesson plans and software, and a steady stream of email communications with students and parents.
Early Childhood Education stays in touch
Our daycare in Nashua has been sharing craft ideas over email, and sending YouTube videos of teachers reading stories. One video in particular featured a former teacher the students all know and miss, calling the children by name to gather around the video for story time. It may sound like a small thing, but for toddlers suddenly facing a complete change in routine, they were overjoyed to see familiar faces from school.
We can’t assume that all students have internet, or devices to access the internet at home. To help address this, students in some districts have been receiving packages of hard copy assignments from K-12 teachers.
For internet, many providers have offered free or low-cost options for the time being. And unconventional devices can be used to access online classes such as a tablet, mobile phone, and some gaming systems.
It’s an extraordinary time; and teachers, administrators, and students are putting in extraordinary effort to keep education in New Hampshire moving forward.