The education system in the United States has always been a major concern.
Every citizen in this country wants its’ education system to be a shining example of exemplary success. This can be said for every country around the globe, in part because everyone wants intelligence to be a staple of their homeland, but more importantly, everyone wants the best for their children. With the outbreak of COVID-19, many parents are therefore concerned about their child’s education and what that looks like during today’s current pandemic. In recent weeks or even days, public and private school systems have been closed down to help stop the spread of the virus in an attempt to “flatten the curve”.
That is no different for the state of Wisconsin. On Friday, March 13, Governor Tony Evers required the shutdown of all K-12 schools in the state to begin on Wednesday, March 18. Before this announcement, UW schools had already been shut down with technological schools like Gateway soon following. In light of this announcement many school districts in Walworth county, including Lake Geneva, decided to not have students return to school the following Monday. Instead, time was devoted to staff and teachers making necessary arrangements and allowing for students to pick up important materials. The general consensus was that students would do ‘distance learning’, or learning online. The largest hurdle for principals, teachers, students, and parents was knowing what that would look like since K-12 schools do not offer online courses as part of their curriculum.
The start of distance learning varies in each town or city. Lake Geneva distance learning began on March 18. This week, the week of March 23, the students of Lake Geneva get to enjoy spring break, which means no distance learning will be held. On March 30 students will begin a full week of distance learning. Every morning, on a distance learning day, students and their parents/guardians will receive an email on the learning target(s) for the day, instructional teaching(s) on the concept, and at least one activity/assignment. Students will also continue to use online tools they are familiar within the classroom. This can include tools like Lexia and ThinkCentral. Other resources that will be used to simulate classroom instruction, discussion, and socializing include videos, Zoom meetings, Facetime, discussion boards using Google Hangout, and email.
In the Lake Geneva School District, most of the learning will be done using the Google classroom platform due to students already having a Gmail account and experience with some of the various tools offered through Google. Furthermore, time spent on distance learning varies, but in Lake Geneva, students will spend on average the same amount each day. For elementary students this is an hour, for middle school students, including Eastview, this is two hours, and for high school, this is three hours a day. Distance learning, and all it entails, will be different depending on the school district, grade level, and the student’s teacher. Because of this, it is essential for parents to stay up to date on new information through their child’s school web page and email. The most vital piece of information all parents and students should know is that every child’s education is still a major concern for teachers. Teachers want their students to succeed and will help in any way that best supports each student and the student’s family. Communication is key during this new frontier of learning. The education system is therefore not gone but transformed, and has been adapted to today’s current circumstances. It remains a focal point of concern in the United States.
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