Adapting to the
As nearly everyone – school administrators, teachers and parents – is discovering, teaching students when schools are closed is an unprecedented challenge. Covid-19 has emptied classrooms, and it is uncertain when things will return to normal. Like other Oregon schools, we have grappled with how best to carry out our mission in the context of the constraints imposed by the pandemic. In their efforts to provide an alternative to in-class instruction, PPS and many private schools are developing programs that rely on the fact that most of their students’ families are equipped with computers or other wireless devices that enable online learning.
In contrast to those students, few of the children who attend CTS have access to the Internet, except on their parents’ minute-based cell phones. Since students can’t come to school, we have developed a plan to bring school to our students wherever they live. Instead of online programs, we are using school staff and our buses to deliver printed assignments prepared by their teachers and pick up their completed work twice a day, five days a week, when we deliver breakfast and lunch. To maintain personal contact, teachers hold weekly phone conferences with students and their parents, and for those who are having difficulty, such as when new math skills are taught, teachers ride the buses to meet with students (wearing masks and maintaining social distance) face to face. For Pre-K/Kindergarten students, we are sending home puzzles, games and other activities their parents can use to help prepare them for the 3 Rs and reinforce the social lessons that are part of their daily curriculum when school is in session.
Despite these modifications to our program, enrollment has been typical. Sixty-five students were enrolled at the end of the first week, and as the year progresses we anticipate that the number will approach our average annual enrollment for the past several years. Consequently, we anticipate that this effort, in particular the transportation component, will be no less costly than our transportation program during a normal school year.