How COVID-19 is affecting the quality of education at Hampton Roads

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Virginia Beach, VA (Wavy) – Positive COVID-19 Cases are increasing in our area, many teachers and school staff are out due to quarantine, and school systems are trying to do everything they can to stay open five days a week, WAVY.com focuses on quality education for children in our area. We spoke with teachers on the front lines, as well as with school administrators, to find out where the quality of education stands at the moment.

“Now that the kids are back five days a week, we can see the learning loss, we’ve made adjustments to the learning loss, and we now have kids who are recovering and getting to where they need to be because their schools are open at five,” said Dr. Don Robertson, chief of staff for Virginia Beach Schools. public city.

Dr. Robertson says schools want to keep this progress growing. The challenge is that many teachers are home in quarantine.

“We are about 50% higher in a day than we would be in any normal year,” said Dr. Robertson.

So, with such a record number of teachers, substitutes, specialist teachers and even staff from the central office covering the classrooms, how can we ensure that our children receive a quality education?

Schools have the ability to mobilize their staff to ensure that there is a qualified individual in front of each classroom in every school. So, fast forward to where we are now. We can place a qualified individual in front of the classroom in every school in every classroom in all of our 86 buildings. We’ve been able to do this in the past six days. The numbers (positive COVID-19 testing) are higher, but again, with the plan that we have of staff and principals, using existing staff in their building, and we’ve identified through our senior officers those individuals who have worked in a school before, or have a degree Undergraduate, was in a school environment, to enter it and subsidiary. “We have identified 50 of these individuals, and we publish about 30 of them per day to schools,” Dr. Robertson said.

He explains that the school system is doing its best to keep schools open five days a week while giving children the education they deserve.

“We all understand that there is no substitute for teachers in the classroom. But what we offer is an excellent alternative to not having that teacher in the classroom,” said Dr. Robertson.

Robertson and Dr. Kip Rogers, chief academic officer of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, have hired several times this year.

Dr. said. Rogers: “The alternate plans made for those who would replace her are unprecedented.”

sings d. Rogers praises teachers for making sure that those who fill in have everything they need to succeed. He cites a time this month when he was assigned a fifth grade teacher.

“The lesson plan was designed for the teacher, and I struggled for about 20 minutes to make sure I had a solid understanding of what I was supposed to do. I had reading groups, three separate reading groups. I had three separate math groups. The lesson plans were very detailed. So , it was as if the teacher was actually in that class. Plus, I think the culture was set up in Virginia Beach so that we work as a team. So, in that class, there were also three other fifth grade teachers who checked in I am constantly with me to make sure I have all the details I need to make sure the lesson plans are carried out as presented,” he explained.

Dr. Rogers also says that there is some cross-planning between grade levels and subjects. “So, in the case when a substitute teacher might need something, they can go to a colleague who teaches the same subject, or grade level, to get the activity done.”

WAVY.com asked educators across Hampton Roads how they feel about the quality of education they can provide at the moment. We keep their comments anonymous to protect them from potential repercussions.

A teacher at Virginia Beach City Public Schools said:

“Unfortunately, the massive increase in positive cases and quarantines has affected both staff and students and the quality of teaching that our teachers are able to provide. We have so many students that teachers not only have to plan for students who are in the classroom, but also to identify absent students, as well as Using planning time to communicate with parents and sick/isolated students (sometimes meet with them virtually or create additional videos and resources for them due to missed instructions) This leaves little time for proper planning of new lessons or providing feedback. This is especially true. In the primary stage where planning time is almost non-existent.The sheer number of employees who are ill and unable to write alternative plans, also affects employees who still give planning time to help, and since there is a shortage of alternatives, specialists are routinely drawn to cover classes school education, so they are unable to collaborate with teachers.For example, our reading and math professionals are needed more than ever to collaborate with teachers and endeavor They distinguish students who are left behind by the pandemic, but when they are pulled daily to cover classes, they are unable to do their jobs and their guidance suffers. And again, because there are no alternatives, students don’t really receive a good education when there is a rotating group of adults teaching their classroom from day to day. This also greatly affects our students with special needs, as changes in personal routines can lead to behaviors, and surrogates do not necessarily know how to mitigate situations. As a result, we have seen more behaviors and interruptions in teaching this year. Teachers who aren’t completely burn-out patients, and one thing that’s helped them stay afloat is extra planning time on Wednesdays, which won’t last beyond Jan. 26. Our best teachers are considering leaving the profession due to the impact on their emotional well-being and the huge amount of ongoing expectations placed upon them. We have had many resignations between last year and this year and sometimes it takes months to fill positions because no teachers are found. Nobody wants to go into education anymore, which unfortunately will affect the future of education for years, if not decades, to come.”

A teacher at Norfolk Public School said:

“I didn’t notice any negative impact on education in my school. We had a record number of staff last week and everyone worked together to take extra kids. We also had some professionals covering the classes. We made extra copies and got materials to cover our extra students and we continued into trucking. I really admire the way my colleagues have come together to support each other and help the kids.”

A teacher at Newport News Public Schools said:

The quality of education that teachers can provide today is limited. Teachers are drowning now! We do our best to give our students the best education, but that is impossible when so many students and teachers are sick. We have to use a lot of time outside of work to prepare online work for students who are in quarantine, as well as for our children in person. We can’t do this during the day because many of our planning and rest periods are canceled or left out due to staff shortages. And with so many students in quarantine at different times, it’s hard to catch up with the missing material, especially when so many don’t complete the work online and the teachers can’t monitor it properly because we try our best to teach the kids that we have you in person. It is very frustrating and annoying. Of course, I’d rather be in school, but I fully support the temporary transition of case control. Instead, everyone seems to prefer pushing teachers to the limit: giving more work and responsibilities, taking the time to do it, all while trying to prevent ourselves from getting sick and bringing the virus back into our families. This, along with other methodological issues related to education, is the reason why many teachers drop out after this school year. It’s bad now, but I guarantee the staffing shortage will be even worse by next school year.”

A Suffolk Public Schools teacher said:

“I feel that with all the current struggles in the world, our team has come together to make sure that we make students our priority and focus on education, SEL and student needs. Just having students back in class is a huge motivator for teachers.”

A second teacher at Virginia Beach City Public School said:

“What concerns me now about the quality of education is not the absence of the teacher (which is also a concern of course), but the absence of the student. I had 15-17 kids in A/B day classes, and that’s a hell of a time for them to make up for what they missed. Every semester I got Since returning from winter break he has missed about a quarter of the students.Mathematics teachers swim in it trying to catch up with individual kids when they are away.Posting an asynchronous video isn’t enough to help our students who have to recover from 5-10 days out of school.All test requirements/still Accreditation is in effect and you put pressure on everyone to keep pace with the curriculum. As a school, if we want to switch to default for a week or two, everyone can improve and reduce exposure and we can work with children who have been absent. Why can’t we do that? I don’t want to go back to virtual or hybrid teaching But what we’re doing now isn’t working. We’ve been able to cover all of our employee absences by hiring other consultants, specialists and educators who have volunteered to cover, but as a result, the counseling office is in an “emergency only” situation because they have people Outside they are also left covered. It is very weak, and if we are to continue the pace as usual (because of these certification requirements) we will be leaving many children behind. We need someone responsible to hit the brakes and let’s get busy.”

The path to quality education during this pandemic is stressful and ever-changing, but Dr. Rogers makes one thing clear.

“All students at Virginia Beach Public Schools are cared for by interested adults and staff who want to see them succeed.”

This is something that resonates in all schools in Hampton Roads.

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