To the Editor:
(A letter to my dear Island community)
Our teachers and students are doing an amazing job keeping schools safe and open. Every day, you’ll see teachers and staff, with smiling eyes above their masked faces, greeting the children.
Children, who play kickball or four-square with masks on. Children who know to stay 6 feet away from each other and stay in their designated spaces, because they realize the new playground and hallway rules are made to keep everyone safe at school.
Teachers work almost around the clock to adapt their curriculums in such a way that they can teach while keeping 6-feet distance from their students. Specials teachers are trying to teach music without being allowed to sing or play band instruments, art without being allowed to share materials, physical education with movements that are acceptable to do with masks on and spaced out from one another.
Kitchen staff provide lunches that can be delivered to the classrooms and are trying to be creative every day while meeting all nutrition guidelines.
And educational technicians never had to be as flexible as this year. With the limitation of not having different substitutes in our schools, these are the people who are pulled from their daily duties to cover classrooms for teachers who are out, while still needing to support ‘their students.’ Special Education teachers are writing Individualized Education Plans for students who sometimes are not even attending school in person, and lending support for these students to the best of their abilities.
Custodians and bus drivers might not have any skin left on their hands by Christmas due to the frequent sanitation of buildings, bathrooms, classrooms and buses.
But together we make it work. We all do our part to ensure we can provide education for our island children. We provide a safe environment where this nasty virus has a slim chance of spreading.
And I hope you will do the same. I hope you will respect our teachers, our first responders and essential workers by doing the smart thing this holiday season and staying home. I hope you will tell your family and friends that they are welcome next year.
I hope that in an effort to keep schools open and people safe, you and your family will find new ways to celebrate, to make the holidays special, just like our teachers and staff come up with new ways to teach every day during this pandemic. Our community depends on it.