Governor Gary Herbert ordered a “soft closure” on all Utah schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13.
The initial timeframe was two weeks and was later extended all the way to May 1. With school still officially in session, thousands of teachers, administrators, and school staff had to find ways to provide not only educational, but some emotional and physical support as well to students now confined to at-home learning.
With all of what thrown at them, schools everywhere sprang into action. Administrators kept parents informed. Counselors emailed students about end of term grades. Teachers provided lessons in virtual spaces, read to kids, sent videos, and set up live virtual learning opportunities. Breakfast and lunches were provided to students who needed them. These things have been possible with the quick action of those in the education system, including some of the following provided by some of our readers.
Ms. Grover at Spring Lake Elementary has been wonderful! My daughter is in her class and has been struggling with this online school stuff. She really misses her teacher, her class, her friends. Ms. Grover gave the kids a journal prompt, asking them how they feel about this, what they like or dislike.
My daughter responded, explaining how she does not like it, and just how much she misses everyone and everything. Ms. Grover called me that evening and asked if she could talk to my daughter.
She told me she was about to respond online but felt like she should just check in with her and make sure she knows that she’s missed too.
I cannot tell you how happy that made my daughter! They talked for a few minutes. She was grinning from ear to ear. She was so happy and has brought it up a few times since. It meant the world to her, and to me.
-Brooke Stoker Andreason
My son’s kindergarten teacher is Mr. Elliot from Park Elementary in Spanish Fork. He has been great during all of this. He posts a video of him reading a story and doing a lesson at the white board every morning. Before school closed the kids had some chicken eggs under an incubator.
He posts updates on them every day. Today he posted pictures of some baby bunnies that were born at his house and explained to the kids some facts about them.
It helps my kiddo to have the interaction and here from someone other than me.
My son’s fourth grade teacher at American Leadership Academy is Jessica Boren. She has been available anytime during the day to help with questions and problems. She even had a Zoom today with the class to do a Kahoot.
When news broke of the soft close, she put out an email immediately to make sure all the kids had access to a computer and made sure everyone to log on and see Google classroom. And Monday morning she had lessons up. She sends encouraging notes to the kids all the time, let’s them chat up a storm on the classroom page to each other.
She does everything she can to help them get the assignments done. We love her!
My grandson’s teacher Mrs. Jenkins at Orchard Hills Elementary in Santaquin has spent time reading with my grandson and any students in her class who would like to. She called them and they read together over video chat, and she helps them with their reading skills. She’s amazing!
My wife, Chelsey Poglajen is a second grade teacher in Payson. She has done a tremendous job to help all her students and the parents feel comfortable about this change of course.
She stays up late and is up earlier than the sun to make sure things run smoothly and that there are plenty of new ideas to keep the kids moving forward. If that isn’t a definition of a hero, I don’t know what is. Thank you to all who have gone above and beyond to push for the positive on this situation.
I have been so grateful for Mary Rugg at American Preparatory Academy in Salem. She has gone above and beyond in being so organized. She posts videos with songs and actions.
My daughter actually looks forward to checking in with her every day. She also sends my daughter messages telling her she’s doing great. She’s really made this whole thing a very positive experience for my 2nd grader.
Today all of the teachers from my children’s elementary school did a drive by parade to see the kids from a distance. It was incredibly thoughtful and all my kids felt loved and connected. We are from Spanish Fork, and my kids attend Riverview Elementary.
My daughter is in kindergarten in Taylor Elementary and she has the absolute best teacher! Mindy Sumens and Mrs. Lowea set up an amazing at home program, with both some online learning and homework packet.
Today was a rough day and I sent her a message about the problems I was having. She called me and spent almost an hour talking to me about some ways to make it better for her. Taking that time to calm my concerns and give me new ways to help my little one continue learning was priceless. She really loves all of her little Kinders.
(Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)