GLASTONBURY, CT (WFSB) — COVID-19 has certainly impacted our way of life.
Channel 3 looked further into the potential permanent changes in how people live their lives that have come about because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including education.
As soon as student Dahmarre Bournes could be in-person at school, he opted for it, despite his mother’s concerns.
“I told my mom I can’t stay at home because I’m not going to learn,” he explained.
This is a critical year for the high school junior as he thinks about colleges.
While he prefers face-to-face time with teachers, he believes the remote learning option is here to stay and may possibly affect a winter staple in New England.
“I feel like that’s going to be like, ‘Oh, snow day?’ No, we don’t have those anymore. It’s remote learning now,” Bournes said.
“The first time we used remote learning, we heard from a large number of parents who said, ‘Well snow days are important’,” explained Glastonbury Superintendent of Schools Alan Bookman.
He said Glastonbury Public Schools changed its stance on snow days, and the district now alternates them, meaning some days students are off, but other times they’re in remote learning.
Bookman says this flexibility is undoubtedly due to technology, a factor that’ll lead the way in educating students.
Glastonbury schools already embraced a one-to-one rollout of devices for its seventh through 12th graders, pre-COVID-19.
Now every student has one.
“There are many things you can do with the technology. For us, we haven’t purchased a textbook in many years because everyone is using technology,” Bookman said.
Marlborough kindergarten teacher Amy Farrior has only taught remotely once since fall started because of a snow day.
She said her class constantly practices with platforms, just in case school closes.
“It is not an equal playing field right now,” Farrior said, referring to the lack of access to devices and connectivity needed for distance learning.
“I think this has brought attention to the disparity among districts,” she added.
The digital divide became so apparent in Connecticut that the state intervened by delivering 141,000 laptops across the state last December.
As part of Gov. Ned Lamont’s “Everybody Learns” initiative, the state spent federal funds on buying the devices and establishing at-home internet connections.
The move highlights how imperative it is to have equal access to technology
The pandemic not only altered the way kids are learning, but also their learning environment.
A new way of cleaning is also here to stay.
“It’s just a simple spray gun. The custodians will have them in their carts and go through the entire school,” explained Mike Fazzino, of Glastonbury Public Schools, who showed a new technique to Channel 3 recently.
In addition to cleaning daily and nightly, the district also fogs the schools.
“This cuts this time down but also gets in more in the nooks and cranny that you probably wouldn’t get with a rag,” he explained.
As educators analyze these changes, Bournes and his mom said the pandemic has created moments for self-reflection.
While education is certainly important, they say so is taking the time to turn off the screens for a bit and escape from the upheavals unearthed during this time.
In other words, it’s adopting self-care.
“It’s finding the balance,” said Bournes’ mom Shenell Benjamin.
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