If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know Governor Wolf has issued the order to close all Pennsylvania public schools for at least two weeks due to the outbreak of COVID-19:
Schools to be closed include public K-12 schools, including brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, career and technical centers (CTCs), and intermediate units (IUs). All other schools – including private, parochial, and institutions of higher education – should be consulted directly for the most current closure information.
What do parents and educators need to know?
1. Websites to track
- Check the Department of Health website for the latest COVID-19 updates.
- Here’s Department of Education’s COVID-19 resource page and FAQ.
- CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs.
2. Food options for your kids
Using the tax funding already allocated for school lunch programs, drive-thru pickups, or grab-and-go meal sites will be available in areas where 50% of students quality for free or reduced lunch. Contact your local school district to see what food options are currently available for kids.
WHYY-FM is tracking a list of community organizations offering free meals in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Numerous private businesses and restaurants, like Leo’s Pizzeria in Williamsport, have stepped up to offer food options for kids.
This is particularly impressive given the impact virus-related restrictions are having on restaurants. Anyone interested in receiving—or contributing toward—free lunches should contact local establishments via social media pages or telephone.
Local media organizations are tracking offerings throughout the state:
If you know of other listings, please let us know and we’ll add them here.
3. Resources for learning from home during COVID-19 school closures
Try to enjoy the unexpected time with your kids—and don’t stress out about keeping a typical school schedule unless you have to. Learning can occur in all sorts of ways. This is a great chance to teach them things they aren’t learning in school, like cooking, doing laundry, and balancing a checkbook.
- Read, read, read! Encourage your kids to take advantage of this time to read great books. You can start a family book club or they could have one with their friends over Google hangouts.
- 37 Free Online Resources for Schools Shifting Online During Coronavirus.
- Resources for learning from home during COVID-19 school closures.
- Khan Academy Pre-K – 12 daily schedules.
- Older kids might consider journaling—on paper or using video—their experiences in this historic time. It will give them a reference to look back on when things eventually settle down.
Extra Credit: Options for educators to remain engaged with their students
Success Academy CEO, Eva Moskowitz, recently posted this Remote Learning Framework as a webinar. It’s an amazing resource to help other brick and mortar schools get their remote learning up and running.
Stephanie Mangan, a teacher at PA Cyber, also offers some best practices for brick and mortar teachers while schools are closed.
Stephanie also recommends padlets for interactive activities, questions, and assignments.
The challenges we’re facing now are real—especially for those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the “social distancing” rules. But we’re already seeing communities pull together to help those who need help the most. If we all do our part to limit the spread and help each other, we’ll get through this and teach our kids the power of caring communities.