How schools are being affected by COVID-19: Responses from school staff

By Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun

Kim Kissack-Superintendent/ Principal South Fork
Currently at South Fork, all teachers are working from home. They are attempting to make contact with their students are least two times a week. We are currently working on another two weeks of assignments that will go out by April 2. Some teachers are sending videos by Dojo, others are using zoom meetings. We are only allowing essential staff on campus. This includes maintenance staff, on a rotating schedule, and classified staff helping with food service. The district office is closed to the public. All staff members are available by email. Maintenance, under the supervision of Ed Overholt, have been working hard to clean and disinfect all areas of the school according to the guidelines. The response to our food delivery has been tremendous. On Thursday, March 19, we delivered 193 meals and on Friday we delivered 250. The need in our community is great. We will continue to provide meals through the Spring Break, with the exception of Good Friday. We are serving “Grab and Go” at the Kelso campus and delivering to four different bus stops. The full schedule is on the website and the South Fork School Facebook page. Kern County Superintendent of Schools has been instrumental in providing guidance to Kern County districts. We are meeting daily to discuss new and innovative ways we can bring services to our students. I am so grateful for the staff at South Fork and their dedication to our students and families. Together we will get through this!

Sabine Mixon-KVHS P.E teacher/coach
My concerns aren’t really about how the school closures are affecting the teachers; I believe most teachers have learned to be flexible, delivering instruction which addresses the various learning modalities of students. The transition to online learning has not been overly difficult, and we are exploring even better ways to get instructions out to students. My biggest concern is for the students. I fear that some students may be under the impression that this is a “break” from school, which could lead to a loss of academic progress and possibly a regression in their educational level. The reality is that students and parents are more responsible for the child’s learning than ever before, and it is very important that the students keep up with the curriculum of each class. It would benefit the students to establish a regular home routine where they get at least eight hours of sleep a night, get up each morning at the same time, dress for school (just like dressing for success) eat a good breakfast and start an education based schedule. Research has shown that being active first thing in the morning gets the blood flowing to the brain, so doing their Physical Education or workout as the first subject could lead to better classroom gains and work production. Follow the schedule of assignments that the teacher has established to stay on track and turn in work when it is due. It has to be realized that if students accumulate two or more weeks of work and turn it all in at once, it will put a strain on the teacher to try to get it graded and into the grade book. Teachers are out at this time as well, and speaking for myself, I am trying to get work graded as soon as it comes in so that students can get productive feedback, make revisions as necessary and resubmit. Feedback in learning is essential as we want to correct mistakes as they occur and guide students in the right direction. I urge all students and parents to be diligent in the educational process as we travel the unknown path of this moment in history.

Emily Keverline-KVHS Agriculture, CTE & FFA
For school closure, I definitely miss my students and the face to face engagement every day. But I understand why it is so important for everyone to stay home. Because of the livestock at the school farm, I get to leave my house at least once a day to go and feed. So, one thing that I have been doing is making videos of what is happening at the school farm and posting them on the FFA Instagram and Facebook page. I try to throw in some teaching and lots of video of the animals.