The gauntlet was thrown late yesterday afternoon on the immediate plan to close public schools in Wisconsin due to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Governor Evers issued a mandate that all K-12 schools in our state be closed from March 18th through a tentative reopening date of April 6th. The option for districts to close earlier than this coming Wednesday also existed. Shortly after the news conference that announced the statewide closure, we heard from our district stating we would be closed as of Monday, March 16th – two days prior to the mandated closing date. Our scheduled Spring Break is April 6-10th and that was kept so our students will not be physically in a school building now until April 13th. Wow! That is a month of time! It is and will be longer than anyone anticipates or at least it feels like that now.
Sure, the first two weeks, will be spent on learning while using e-lessons of their classes that their teachers are preparing to move online. This will be a learning experience for all – both staff and students, of that I am sure. My son, who has a distance learning AP course already, will just add these other classes to his online time and know-how to manage it as long as the process is communicated clearly. He is a very self-directed student who I anticipate will do fine with this change, but he is also a social one and I think that aspect of learning from home in totality will be the challenge for him. I think he is curious to “see” how his brick and mortar high school classes will “look online.” He knows e-learning is not as easy as it is made out to be and thinks this change will pose some serious challenges for some.
In the preceding days leading up to the decision to close yesterday, we saw colleges and universities make plans to provide courses online. Surely, they are better prepared to do this than high schools that do not have a system-wide process and dedicated platform for online learning already in place. That is to say that the collegiate systems should be better prepared, but some of the professors might still find it difficult to change their routine class delivery style.
Other closures or cancellations have included professional meetings, conferences, and gatherings. Worship is cancelled for Sunday at one local church, and I am sure there will be others to follow suit.
Locally and nationally, we are at the end of the winter sports season, which typically includes tournament play and championship games. Those end of season rights of passage and claim to greatness will not happen this year. Games were abruptly cancelled leaving athletes gravely disappointed and lacking closure for some with great seasons.
The spring sports season start has been put on hold – indoor track and field meets are being cancelled, leaving those athletes with a sense of being in limbo until the outdoor season starts. And, all are hoping that it will in eventuality.
What it comes down to is that EVERYONE is disappointed about SOMETHING right now!!!
Here is just a partial list:
-WIAA Winter Season Sports Tournaments and Championship Games
-NCAA Basketball Tournaments
-Certain delays & possible cancellations of spring sports at the high school level
-Cancellation and/or postponed events (conferences, celebrations)
-Change in venue or platform of classes
-College students staying home past spring break
-Movement of spring break dates (some districts have done this)
-Cancellations of field trips
-Cancellations of trips abroad
-Changing the delivery style of lessons (impinges planning)
While we are all caught up in a personal disappointment of some type right now, we must remember that it truly is for the greater good. We need to slow the progression of this Novel Coronavirus so life can get back to normal sooner rather than later! And, you know what?! Disappointment is part of life. This will be a good lesson.