In one fell-swoop, our lives drastically changed... @mrsbozz and I were laying in bed last night when we got a memo from the office of the Governor stating that all public schools in the State of Michigan would be closed from March 16th through April 5th.
Although there have only been two confirmed cases of Covid-19 that I know of in our state, like many places across the globe, this is a preventative measure to help reduce the spread of the disease and ensure that those who are more adversely affected can stay sheltered and safe.
Unfortunately, this comes at a time when a large number of educators and administrators are out of their districts at the annual MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) convention being held in Grand Rapids, MI.
I have little doubt that many superintendents and principals are cutting their professional development time short and making their way back to their respective districts so they can coordinate and plan for the coming weeks.
As many have stated, the biggest concern with a lot of the hype around the Corona virus is the absolute uncertainty. This is compounded greatly for the young ones who are entrusted to our care each and every day.
@mrsbozz pointed out on our drive home yesterday evening that our district serves free breakfast and lunch to all of our elementary students. If they are required to stay home for three weeks, some of them will simply not eat. It is the sad fact about the environment that some of them live in.
Many school districts are trying to figure out ways they can continue to deliver instruction to these students while they are at home. The issue is, many students in our area have zero Internet access at their homes. Cellular coverage like 3G and 4G is spotty at best. They might get signal when they sit on one side of a room, but nothing on the other. At this point our best solution is sending them home with printed out packets of work to complete.
My hope is that the Governor will officially waive the state testing requirements so when the students return to school they are able to use the time in April and May that would normally be spent taking standardized test catching up on the material they missed these three weeks.
As a pseudo administrator, I am still in the dark about whether or not I am required to report to work. I really don't see why I wouldn't be. With hardly anyone in the buildings, there would be little chance of contact and spread. On top of that, during those snow days or vacation days, I typically work in my office alone with the door locked anyway.
One bright spot is the fact that one of the three weeks is during what would have been our Spring Break anyway, so if you want to be technical it is only two weeks that students will be missing instruction.
All of this is based on the assumption that things will be under control by April 5th. What if they are not?
My wife and I are scheduled to make our weekly grocery trip today. I am anxious to see what is even left on the shelves due to the misguided panic hoarding a portion of the population has resorted to.
These are indeed interesting times. Stay healthy and safe everyone!
I will be cross-posting this original content on EOS Voice