Members of Expert Advisory Panel 2 discussed various ways to help parents and students transition to hybrid learning, and possibly back to online learning, in their meeting on Oct. 20.
Two central topics of discussion were parental and student involvement in the schools and making video messages to send to families to address some common concerns. These videos would cover a wide variety of topics: what happens if a child presents COVID symptoms, managing eating outside in cold weather and how to build community during these strange times.
Panel member Amanda Tarullo explained that the videos could help families navigate these times more effectively.
“We want families and students to know what to expect if COVID cases rise,” Tarullo said.
Panel members initially envisioned videos about basic protocols, but realized that they could be used to support students through this tumultuous learning process. Videos could refer to general safety or staying social despite the constraints, all with the purpose of supporting students. A survey will be sent out to parents to figure out what videos are necessary based on people’s questions.
Sanjli Gidwaney, another panel member, proposed allowing parents into school to monitor the social distancing between students during their lunch period to give teachers a break from work. Gidwaney suggested a video for parents as a reference for this monitoring.
Another idea raised at this meeting was to ask students if they had any ideas to improve community building. Member Bryan Argucia brought up how helpful students’ ideas could be to the transition.
“This monster that we’re managing needs all people and all hands on deck. I’m a big believer that kids have a lot to offer,” Agrucia said.
During the meeting, member Lindsay Fallon questioned how to promote the socialization that’s missing during remote learning.
“As a parent, I haven’t been able to figure out how to effectively connect with others over online learning,” Fallon said. She mentioned that Halloween, typically a social holiday, was not taking place this year and proposed that parents and PTO consider how to maintain the spirit of Halloween through COVID.
The topic of parent-organized events was revisited when Gidwaney suggested that parents could organize class community service projects outside of school for socialization, such as making blankets.
A variety of other subjects were broached, such as using the school’s intercom system as a form of communication with students.
“We could use the school’s intercom system to distribute information to students so that the reliance doesn’t fall solely on the parents,” member Beth Jones said.
Panel members discussed additional topics of mentoring between older and younger students, the role of student government in these activities and even alternatives to hugging.
“We want to try to make the unpredictable more predictable by giving families a road-map,” Tarullo said.