NEW YORK (AP) — When New York schools reopened in September it was anything but business as usual. With state guidelines for social distancing making it impossible for all students to attend classes in person at the same time, educators prepared for a hybrid model of instruction.
Besides preparing lesson plans and decorating classrooms with the usual “Welcome Back” posters and inspirational quotes, teachers and IT personnel set up computers, cameras, and document readers to be able to reach students who are learning remotely.
Educators now deliver their lessons to half empty classrooms as well as computer screens filled with faces of children logged in from home. As they move from desk to desk helping students with their lessons, they also remind those at home to unmute their computers so they can be heard responding to questions.
Everywhere, teachers are improvising. Classes are held outdoors. Physical education instructors demonstrate exercise techniques in front of a camera in empty gymnasiums. In some cases, hallways are used for one-on-one instruction or remote learning classrooms. Auditoriums, previously used for school assemblies, are storing furniture and equipment.
One thing that hasn’t changed is teachers’ dedication to their students and the pride they put into their work. Teachers are making the most of the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.