State Superintendent Mark Johnson today praised the efforts last week by schools and educators to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that has shuttered schools statewide, and he acknowledged that today’s decision to keep schools closed until May 15 will require even more from everyone – teachers, school staff, and families.
“Last week, it became very clear that this was going to be a multi-month event,” Johnson said. “So at the same time we prepared meals and remote learning, we also started to prepare for the work ahead. We already have teams who have started the plans for schools and the legislative requests for everything being out of school until May or longer will require.”
Johnson listed a number of issues that will require legislative action: eliminating testing, calendar flexibility, educator and staff compensation, and making sure that students in the class of 2020 and on track to graduate in June, will graduate in June.
Johnson urged parents to set a structure for their children to keep them learning and engaged.
“If you haven’t already, now is the time to start a routine with your children,” Johnson said. “We can’t treat this as a long break. Your child doesn’t have to master calculus at home, but help keep them engaged in their learning. Wake up at reasonable time every morning, work on remote learning for a few hours every day, get outside – social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t get fresh air – and go to bed at reasonable time. Set and schedule and stick to it. That is exactly what my wife and I are doing for our 7-year-old daughter.”
Johnson said the Department of Public Instruction has developed a website that includes resources for remote learning and that teachers and schools will be providing their own options as well.
“Resources for remote learning, both digital and physical, have been shared,” he said, “and teachers have been truly amazing in putting together plans for their students to continue learning during this unprecedented national crisis.”
Johnson also cited the efforts of many across the state to ensure that students received meals despite the school closure.
“Thanks to the leadership of the dedicated public servants at NC DPI, local districts and schools all across this state,” Johnson said, “we now have over 1,000 locations serving meals and over 1 million meals were served just last week to those in our communities who need them the most.”
“We must absolutely thank the teachers and all the public servants who work in our schools across the state. So much has already been accomplished in a short amount of time and much work remains.”