During these trying times, many parents are unsure as to the future of education and what many are calling the new norm. Does the new norm mean students will forever require protective masks? Does it mean students will no longer be able to embrace their family or friends with something as simple as a hug? Will a social distance of six feet remain indefinitely and what will happen to students’ ability to learn in a traditional school setting? Many students need that one-on-one connection with teachers and other students. At the end of the day, what measures are being put in place to ensure students remain connected to what matters most, i.e., the human touch? Maybe it’s time for the community to come together and provide valuable resources to one another. While many families are self-quarantining, students should be exposed to opportunities for safe learning, fun activities, and physical interaction. Some school districts have taken measures to install portable plexiguard shields in every classroom, similar to the way they have in many casinos. However, this is probably very expensive, and while it may provide a higher measure of safety or prevention, online learning is also an option. Yet, even the online environment should incorporate resources that allow parents, school districts, and communities to collaborate in a manner that ensures that students feel connected. For example, when a teacher is providing instruction, the student should be able to see their teacher, even if it’s only virtually. In addition, students should have physical copies of the same textbooks that they see their teachers using; they need to touch it! Moreover, parents should be included and allowed to actively engage in student learning in a manner that allows a personal touch, maybe even find ways to involve the quarantining family member(s). Of course, these are just a few examples. I’m sure there are many others. Needless to say, our collective ideas could create a treasure trove of literary activities that are fun and engaging, especially now!
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