Stephanie Kaczor, Cedar Rapids, NE

A collection of teachers' statements on COVID-19 impact

August 4, 2020 |
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We are asking how COVID-19 is impacting rural communities. Read below for a collection of perspectives submitted by Superintendent Stephanie Kaczor of Cedar Rapids, NE. You can share yours here: http://bit.ly/iaartcovid

Here are some regarding statements from staff regarding COVID impact.

1) Living in rural Nebraska, I have had the internet for many years. Our connectivity has been put to the test as we have three students and one teacher trying to juggle the internet. Perhaps, we are in a unique position as my family has three students from three different institutions: South Dakota State University, Boone Central and St. Michael's and a teacher from yet another district, Riverside. It has been hectic trying to coordinate everyone's schedule but it has been working.

2) Grieving the routine of the school day... The disruption this virus has caused in my daily life has put me in the grieving process. Trying to get to acceptance is a very different journey for each person. I used student letters as my stepping stones to acceptance. I write to my students twice a week. I make each letter positive, uplifting, and engaging for my first and second graders. Their responses through return correspondence has helped me immensely. Acceptance arrived through snail mail.

3) Julie from Riverside has been communicating with students through Google Classroom, but she really misses seeing her students and talking to them in person. So, she is delighted when her students make social distancing visits to her house and bring special gifts. She made a sign to welcome some of her visitors. It also brightens her day when parents and students send texts, letters, pictures, and videos of her students working on lessons or other activities.

4) And there are no words for this one....in the middle of our staff zoom meeting at Riverside...we had a visitor at a teacher's front door! Yes...that is a horse sitting.

Riverside Public School's kitchen crew has transitioned into preparing right at 200 "grab and go' meals three days a week to our families. We cover 4 counties and 4 communities so we deliver to drop off sites in each community. It takes an entire team of dedicated staff to make this work!

Riverside Public School has put out a daily Riverside Challenge to all families. They post/share their responses on Facebook or Twitter. Below are a few examples. We have received great participation and some very creative responses.

  • Riverside Challenge 28: Take time to write to a friend, teacher, or family member. (photo provided on one teacher's door covered from student letters)
  • Riverside Challenge Day 23: Help bake or make a meal. Post to Facebook or twitter your creations. (pic of students with brownies)
  • Riverside Challenge Day 19: Share a picture of you enjoying the school lunch or take a picture of a thank you for all those behind the scenes making lunches! (thank you sign to cooks)
  • Riverside Challenge Day 18: Word Work: Write the words Riverside Chargers at the top of a paper. Then see how many words you can make using the letters from these two words. Take a picture of your list with the total number of words at the top. (pic collage)
  • Riverside Challenge Day 5: In honor of National Agriculture Week, we challenge you to make a list of at least 10 Ag products you can find in your house. (drawing of Ag items)

How ESU 10 is helping? There are no words. They have gone above and beyond what you would think is possible. Weekly meetings are arranged with our local health district so we stay up to date on the latest news and mandates. Weekly meetings are scheduled for district leaders after Commissioner Blomstedt's message to discuss what impacts our districts as well as collaboratively, how we can help each other. Dr. Wheelock shares out frequent updates and opportunities provided to districts to help enhance or provide resources to the schools. In-services are being offered remotely as well as discussions on the kind of in-services that will be provided to districts due to our ever-changing needs during this pandemic. We are so fortunate to be a part of ESU 10---GO 10!

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