Tips for Parents for Remote Learning
Tips offered for parents and students learning from home
Without a doubt this school year has been tumultuous with COVID-19 seemingly changing how schools’ function on a regular basis. Schools here began the year remotely, switched to hybrid and now with positive cases on the rise in the Village of Port Chester, schools once more returned to remote learning and will be that way through January.
It was a difficult adjustment for many families, and some are still working on making the change be successful. To that end, two of the districts Community School Coordinators/Social Workers hosted a virtual meeting, “Creating an Environment for Success at Home” on Nov. 24.
Maryann Castro, the School Coordinator at John F. Kennedy Elementary School was joined by Carmen Rosario, who holds the same position at Thomas Edison Elementary School, and translated the information in Spanish.
As for creating an appropriate environment, Ms. Castro suggested the space should promote independence and responsibility while also having support be available for students who may need it.
“Really, the hope is we are able to promote responsibility, but available for support in time of need,” she said. “But we are not doing it for them.”
A well-lit space with a desk and chair is ideal. Too often, she said, students are trying to do their work while laying on their beds. In addition, students should have all the supplies they need easily available. Parents should also remember that the camera used to see their teacher can see everything in the background of a child’s home, so special attention should be paid to that as well.
“We really want to encourage students to keep a daily routine,” Ms. Castro said, adding they should get up at the same time each day and be prepared for that day.
Students should also be participating in all their classes. The asynchronous days are important as well. It is during this time that teachers are working with them on their special classes.
Finally, she encouraged parents to limit screen times when students are not doing their schoolwork because they are spending so much time in front of a screen.
“Parent involvement matters,” Ms. Castro said. “Even though we are remote, we need your support now more than ever.”
Speaking positively about your child’s education is also helpful as is keeping a regular schedule and routines. Just as important too, she said, is reviewing your child’s assignments.
Ms. Castro encouraged parents if at any time they have questions, or are struggling in any way, to please contact their child’s teacher or school principal.
“We are counting on you,” she said. “We know this is not easy for you, it is an adjustment. We want you to remember you can reach out and please, maintain contact.”
Communicating with your child’s teacher is beneficial.
“They are experts on who is available and what is going on. It is OK to also reach out to the principal,” she said, adding that although schools are closed, there is staff available at the buildings to follow up with any messages left.
There is an entire team ready and willing to help, Ms. Castro said. Reaching out to the school nurse, social worker, counselor or psychologist are also options.
“The Community Resource Coordinators that are available,” she added. “We know a lot about the community resources that are available.”
If anyone, student or parent, is struggling with using the technology, they should also reach out to the child’s school. There is assistance available to help in this area too.
“We will be able to manage whatever you need,” Ms. Castro assured. “Anything related to your child’s education you are not sure about, please reach out. We want to support you in this.”
She also encouraged parents to update their emergency contact information at their child’s school — both phone numbers and emails.Ms. Castro also spent some time discussing the importance of safety. She encouraged parents to model good behavior such as practicing social distancing, wearing masks and demonstrating appropriate greetings. She also encouraged parents to talk to their children about what is going on and why these steps are important in order to stay safe and healthy. It would be helpful, too, she said, if families practiced wearing masks for an extended period of time. It can help everyone get used to having them on.
She encouraged families to be extra attentive to their health and if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, to contact their health professional.
It would be helpful too, if families developed a plan should one of them fall ill or needs to quarantine. Gathering information on meal delivery services, medications could be helpful.
Finally, she encouraged families to become familiar with health guidelines.
“We really need you to do your part to keep Port Chester safe and be able to return to our schools,” she said.