PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Every day, another school district announces a change in its schedule due to COVID-19 cases.
The constant change is having an impact on everyone involved.
Matt Edgell is with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the union that respresents the regions teachers outside of Pittsburgh Public Schools. He says teachers are worried, “They are all very worried! Whether or not they want to be back in school with their kids full time or if they want to continue working remotely, they are all concerned. They’re concerned about their health for a various number of reasons, but one of those is, you know, the more cases that are they come across into districts, the more concerned they become.”
Edgell says the teachers are stuck in the middle of safety and education, “Everybody wants the children to be back in school. We just want it to be done safely. And, you know, there’s that balance between keeping everybody safe and making sure that people are you know the students are properly educated.”
There are times when the union has to intervene, “We have had to do that. In some cases, but remember that, that we’re dealing with guidelines and, you know, not regulations. We have seen districts that have basically forgone the guidelines put forth by the state, not so much now in Allegheny County. And then we’ve seen districts that have done it to the letter. And I would say that the ones that have done it to the letter that have fared better, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune.”
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And when there is upheaval in the school day, Edgell says the students suffer.
“Students are creatures of habit. They like norms, they like consistency and students learn best when they feel that they’re in a safe environment. So, anytime you affect either one of those two things. It has an educational impact. Now we might not know what it is now, we might not know what it is, you know, for individual students 10 years from now, but it does have an impact. Can they overcome it? Absolutely. You know, just a simple change in schedule from full day to half day or full time to two thirds time for a kid can have quite an impact because not only does it change their school schedule but it also changes their family schedule as well.”
But Edgell points out all of this is no one’s fault, “Basically, I would say overall, everybody’s doing the best they can with the information that they have. You’ve got to keep educating the kids. I’d say on a case-by-case basis, district by district basis, they’re just doing the best they can.”
Edgell points out not as schedules change the importance of the family role in monitoring a child’s progress becomes even more critical.
While previously those in education had hoped this irregularity in schedules would only be around into the new year, but not it looks like this entire school year will live under the cloud of the Coronavirus.