During this unprecedented time, school districts across the country are settling in on a new way of teaching and connecting with students unlike any we have ever experienced before.
In Worthington Schools, our transition from a brick-and-mortar school district to one helping 10,600 students learn remotely began March 24. Make no mistake: This is a massive transition.
This will not be a time away from school but rather a time for an alternative style of learning.
This is especially challenging because we are not an online-learning institution. Our teachers are trained in helping the students who are physically in their classrooms, and our schools are designed to be places of interaction and working together.
Since Gov. Mike DeWine closed all schools in a March 12 announcement in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, teachers in Worthington have been working to design learning modules and lessons for students to complete while at home. They have been learning new tools, collaborating with one another, creating read-alouds and attempting to determine how much work is enough and how much may be too much.
They have done all this without the ability to gather and learn together. I've been incredibly proud of our educators and the amount of work they have put in just to get to this point.
A lot of us are feeling anxious about this time of uncertainty, and many of our children are feeling this way, too. Making sure our students have access to our school counselors, healthful meals and a time for physical activity are an important part of their daily schedule, too. Our staff members are reaching out to our students regularly to help address students' emotional needs.
We also believe it is important that we continue to celebrate our successes and progress. Our students need to see that good things continue despite these challenges.
We plan to share stories of our students' accomplishments and how they are tackling their daily activities during this "new normal" at home. We will keep the community up to date on all of the ways our schools continue to help our students to meet their maximum potential.
The health and safety of our students and families is our top priority. Our staff members are doing their best to nurture both the academic needs and socioemotional needs of our students.
This health crisis has many of us reeling, yet our community continues to rally. The way people are working to help one another is a testament to the heart of our amazing school district and community.
Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.