An Open Letter to the Florida Department of Education

Today was our first day of virtual/distance learning. I cried for 30 minutes, all before 10 a.m. I thought there would be “instruction” from our child’s teacher, but I’m learning, that may not be the case.

New concepts will be taught in short video clips from the Internet or other teaching sources, and the bulk of instruction will be coming from parents. You know, in our free time.

Those of us lucky enough to keep our jobs and work remotely, are now supposed to navigate shouldering an abbreviated school day of six hours with our child, while working, while trying to keep our family safe, in a pandemic.

I can’t help but think of parents who are fighting on the front lines, working 12 hours a day to keep the rest of us safe. I’m thinking about the families who have a family member battling cancer or another hard health diagnosis. I’m thinking about the children whose family environments are less safe than the school environment. What about families with multiple children? What about families with children who have special needs, IEPs, 504s and learning disabilities?

After 10 minutes of a google class meet up so my daughter could see all her little friends, I looked at the amount of school work in our virtual classroom and broke down in tears. How are we supposed to do distance learning with a child who has special needs, a paraprofessional, three therapists at school, and every accommodation available in a school setting on her IEP? No matter each family’s unique situation, families are not set up to add another two full time jobs to our responsibilities.

I know that our county school district is just doing what they are required to do from the Florida Department of Education, which I’m sure is getting their recommendations from the Education Department for our country. Did anyone think that maybe a parent’s goals are a lot different than a school’s goals for their child when navigating a GLOBAL pandemic?

My goals are to stay home and healthy. My child, who like many in our world has a compromised immune system, she cannot get sick during this outbreak. We cannot find ourselves in a hospital trying to receive help through an illness. Not to mention that if she were to be exposed to the coronavirus and get sick, it’s possible she might be deemed “not worth saving” since she has disabilities.

This is all too much. It’s too much for everyone. Please don’t add teaching our kids to a laundry list of new requirements every single family now has. It causes undue stress on parents, children and life. We have enough stress that’s been added to our life.

Can the Department of Education realize that:

  1. I didn’t go to school to teach.
  2. My child’s teacher didn’t go to school to run a virtual classroom or learn what’s appropriate for online instruction during a pandemic.
  3. The learning environment is no longer cohesive or structured.
  4. Parents are working from home, trying to keep their current jobs, or find a new job.
  5. Children who are already struggling will find themselves frustrated, lagging behind even more.
  6. There is no reason to add additional anxiety and stress to parents and children during a time of uncertainty.
  7. As parents, we need to provide security and love.
  8. Life lessons are also important, maybe even more so now than meeting educational milestones.
  9. Realize that everyone’s best effort will look much different than in a structured classroom environment.
  10. Hitting the pause button on education for a moment in time is OK.
  11. Allowing our families to use this time to slow down, reconnect, have dinner together, plant a garden, pick flowers, go for a walk, watch movies, make cupcakes or stare at the sky, instead of rushing to complete assignments is important too.
  12. Adding stress to an already impossible situation is not helpful.

I’m sure some families can handle distance learning better than others, but the point of the public school system is to provide a predictable environment for learning.

According to the Department of Education’s website, “ED’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” Right now across our nation, equal access to learning is not happening. Virginia has shut down school for the remainder of the year, Pennsylvania is closed indefinitely. Each state has their own new standards of how to teach: PBS stations in Los Angeles, distance learning, zoom calls, or putting the burden on parents. One thing’s for sure and that is nothing is consistent or equal when it comes to education right now.

Equal access for kids with IEPs, learning accommodations and 504s are not being met. Access can’t be considered equal when the education is falling on families with different home environments, work obligations and access. Yes schools can help bridge those gaps virtually, but they fall short and the gaps remain, crossing county and state lines throughout our nation.

I am imploring the Florida Department of Education, and I guess in a larger sense, the Education Department for our nation to please consider stopping school for the remainder of the school year so we can resume when the health of the people in our nation is no longer in jeopardy. Please allow families to focus on what’s really the most important thing: staying safe and loving one another.

Sincerely,

An essential, full-time, working from home business-owner with employees, that is a mom to a special needs child, who’s also a wife to a husband who owns a business that is also considered essential, and who would also like to keep all his employees, and together we would like our family to remain somewhat sane in our planet’s current and shared environment.

42 Replies to “An Open Letter to the Florida Department of Education”

  1. First let’s meet virtually! Second i agree that maybe this year should be stopped… maybe changing goals and have more enrichments next year plus the educational material that was planned for this year. I don’t know what is the best solution. Our son has difficulty focusing and although some of the tasks assigned are easy for us they are hard to do for him and add to that that we are working as well……

  2. So well written that it brought me to tears. I agree with you. I’m a single mom and business owner who just lost major contracts that source our living. My child is asking a lot of questions and the best way for us to teach is through reading, exercise, art, cooking, talking, and interactive playtime that also involves learning. Surely there is a better way than getting bogged down in logins, network errors, and going through our own learning curve to teach in a way that was not how we learned in school. There is absolutely no question there is a better way than this….and as a loving and concerned parent I’m going to do what feels best.

  3. I can’t agree more! I feel like we need to pause the school year and resume when everything is back to normal, yes even if this means going into summer!! I as well as my husband are still currently working outside the home- I’m feeling defeated- my almost 8 year old is also on an IEP, so she gets pulled out of the gen ed class for multiple things- needless to say we are overwhelmed

  4. Yes! This! I’m well educated and “capable” of teaching my 4 kids (so my kids are at a huge advantage in so many ways), but I’m also trying to navigate all the new legal changes and keep my 100 employee (essential) business afloat. Where should I sacrifice the time to “teach” or even “manage” school for 4 different grade levels and abilities? By not applying for grants and loans to keep 200 families fed? By not reaching out to major customers and suppliers to try to get ahead of whatever I can possibly forsee as a potential pitfall? What shall I give up? My kids education is super important to me, but also is making sure that the people who’ve worked so hard for me can still feed their own kids. I literally was just talking to our labor attorney (who also has several kids) trying to “plan” and get clarification on new laws that go into effect in less than 48 hours— those guidelines STILL aren’t out. But during our 45 mins conversation, we were interrupted at least 4 times by our children. We’re both two super successful professionals, trying to navigate a new professional world, AND have had our childcare options ripped away AND now they want us to instruct ALSO? 2 of my 4 haven’t even started their school yet (at 7pm)—I just can not physically and emotionally do it all. Its TOO much to ask of parents to add during this already crazy time.

  5. Oh my goodness! Thank you for taking all my emotions, frustrations, wants, needs and clearly listing them here.

    We have a kindergartner and first grader who both need parental help during distance learning. My husbands been coughing and has isolated himself in the house. We are both still working and trying to go from task to task. We are both in Energy and considered essential.

    I’m ‘on a break’ before bedtime for the kiddos and then my second or third shift to start. I’m exhausted. I’m ready to put the milk in the pantry kind of exhausted.

    This is not sustainable. Something has to give, but what?

  6. My heart goes out to parents, especially those with special needs. I was a teacher and administrator for 36 years and I just know there has to be a better solution. My daughter, a speech/language pathologist, has to provide services to 3 and 4 year olds using technology – how do you think that’s working! I just experienced my first Zoom meeting with my bookclub and was so frustrated that there were so many technical glitches – losing video and audio right during someone’s brilliant statements! I do not believe that resuming school when it is safe and adding the days missed would be as disastrous as what is taking place now. Having been in public education for 30 of those 36 years I found that those making the decisions have no idea how those decisions impact the “big picture.” I implore, along with all the other families responding, the state and federal Departments of Education, to reconsider this mandate to provide instruction via technology.

  7. Then don’t! If it’s too much then don’t. So what your child might have to repeat a year, not a problem. Like you said it’s too much. Then do what feels best, no one will judge you and if they do tough cookies for them. In these extraordinary times we as Americans will have to break from the norm. Understand, that times have changed and adapt to new norms, life as we know it will never be the same. We will come through It to the other side but will be forever changed. A time before corona and a time after corona. As Americans we need to be strong make decisions based on our families needs and be damned what the neighbors think. This is our right as Americans. So chin up do your best and know as long as your family is fed clean and happy and safe.. You are doing great. Our children are watching lets show them how to survive. That is the greatest lesson.

  8. Amazing how you have beautifully written down the thoughts I had yesterday. Yesterday was a day of crying out of frustration for me. I’ve prayed and prayed about it and while I try to leave it to the lord to sort out for me it is hard in the moment that last several hours long, I have 5 children at home, pre k thru 7th grade that I am trying to learn with, guide thru the home based learning, and I have one special needs
    child with an IEP. Yes I’m his mother so typically
    when we do homework I am the one who sits
    with him to keep him focused in order to
    complete said homework. Well right now I do
    not have all day to sit beside him so he is
    focused and learning. I have a pre k and a
    kindergartner who also need my assistance
    getting logged on, reading their assignments
    for them, or helping them comprehend what
    the actual assignments are. When I turn away
    from my Ese student he gets nothing done.
    Nothing! He knows his Math, but it took 45
    minutes to do 4 math problems with me sitting
    beside him. Granted these problems were
    not ?+?= kind of problems. He had to literally
    solve each of the answers to know if it was
    correct because each question asked which
    Diagrams are correct to solve this problem.
    Mark all that apply. Monday I spent 6 hours
    sitting with him, almost entirely next to him for
    him to only complete 8 math problems. two worksheets online. Thankfully he has an iep
    and an Ese teacher who pulls him out of gen
    class to assist with his work at school or he
    would never get it done, I’m sure. The work
    load for my 5th grader is too much in my
    opinion, 12 total I ready leasons to complete for the week, along with achieve, quizlet, boom
    pop, Videos to watch, a quiz to take and
    whatever other assignments and virtual
    meetings to look for. It’s too much for me to
    keep up with. I have to literally sit down with
    each child to write out their assignments for the week because they do not have all assignments
    written under the assignments tab. We have
    to go on a scavenger hunt for assignments in
    the chats and files sections as well. I’m overwhelmed and it makes for a very unhappy home when we all get frustrated at different times and not enough time to get over it before the next wave rolls in.
    Thank you for writing this article, it gives me hope to know I’m not alone.

  9. Yes!!! The stress and anxiety is almost too much for these kids! I’m a nurse, my husband is an “essential worker” and I don’t have time to sit and teach after working 13 hour night shifts. My college kids are home because they’re bartending / serving jobs are gone due to restaurant closures. So now I’m feeding a family of 8 and paying rent for my college kids which by the way I won’t get the $500 stimulus because they are 23. ( claim on income tax 2018).

  10. I am an essential business owner, wife and mother of two different school level kids. It’s very likely to feel the way you do. On my first day as I started with the youngest first, while I’m doing my own work, I noticed how difficult it was going to be. Not even half of the day have past and I’m already getting frustrated. We as full time employee, mother and know teacher, it’s very frustrating. Like you have said, we didn’t got to school to be teachers, we do not get pay to be one neither. Currently, we only have short time left from school be over, it’s out of our hands but we cannot control what is causing this. I’m very pleased to say that at first I have thought I was the only one, but now I’m glad you have spoken. It’s very frustrating having to add more into our busy schedule as a working parents. As you have mentioned, some parents doesn’t have the privilege to be working from home and knowing the only time they have to spend with the children is doing another full time school work. I would love for the F.D.E. to have empathy for us who have to work from home and become full time instructors at the same time.

  11. This. Just this. I work from home but spend all day on calls and virtual meetings. It is extremely difficult to navigate the half a dozen different platforms we need to go to for my 2nd grader’s new distance learning. Going from links in ClassDojo to links of pdf docs to youtube to Launchpad to Canvas back to ClassDojo back to youtube and making sure we check all the boxes of everything. On top of the fact that everyone’s internet is maxed out, websites keep crashing and when trying to upload documents for proof of work for a grade, the session times out and we are back to square one. My husband is considered ‘essential’ and is out of the house during the day trying to stay safe and not bring home any illness (corona or otherwise). The stress on him is immense as well and I can’t imagine his personal worry of dealing with others face to face and trying to be response in his line of work while at the same time praying no one he comes in contact with is ill. There are moments of extreme frustration, sadness, and guilt that I can’t spend more time helping our son with his school work. Although he is extremely smart, he gets bored easily and being ‘thrown’ into this new type of schooling is beyond stressful on him too. Thank you for saying what most of us have been thinking the past few days. 2 days in and we have who knows how many more to go! Prayers for everyone. For school, for health, for sanity!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to pen a response to my open letter to the Fl. Dept. of Edu. I do think teachers are doing as much as they possibly can and in no way fault them for the position they have been put in. Part of the country’s Education Department mission statement is, “fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” which is not happening. We are not doing 1-2 hours of school at home. This is not homeschool, this is public school, at home without equal requirements, expectations or instruction. This is required curriculum and worksheets without instruction. The standard that was here in January 2020 can’t be the same standard today which is on the shoulders of parents, post Covid-19. One thing no one is accounting for: everyone’s mental health, which as a country is completely strained, buttercup.

  12. In response to Karex24’s link above to her article about how parents need to “rise to the occasion” as educators, let’s all take a look at your last sentence without giving your website more traffic. “At the risk of sounding harsh, suck it up buttercup, because this is our new normal for the foreseeable future and life must go on.”

    Isn’t it great to see how the small minorty of unhindered, unchallenged, everything-goes-so-great-for-me, mom-shaming, bubble living show-offs respond to the majority of people that are having a hard time with all this? Her lack of grace and caring is exactly why this country has a mental health crisis equal if not greater to the COVID-19 crisis. Suck it up, buttercup? Wow. Thank you so much for showing your lack of awareness and emotional intelligence, and I pray your family is spared from this type of response if they ever run into a problem that is just too much for them to deal with. Please keep yourself and your comments in the UK and focus on Megxit.

    1. Dear Annmarie,
      Yes! I am a teacher (ese support), and a mom with 2 kids, one with special needs. This is stressful and quite ridiculous. I am torn however, I need a job. If school stops then my paychecks may also stop?
      This teaching my kids and teaching students is not working out too well so far. It is not quality instruction. I don’t know the answer but as an educator, I will do my best for the students/parents that are willing to give this virtual and online homeschooling thing a try.
      I am trying to stay sane, and take one day at a time.
      Love and support to all you parents just doing the best you can, under these extreme circumstances.

      1. Thank you for being a bold teacher and giving your point of view. I honestly feel that during this time what the department of education could do is take input from parents, teachers and students and receive the feedback, good, bad and ugly with what has been rolled out (in a week) and work on a real strategy and plan for if this ever happens again. For starters, no new material, provide reinforcement material of what has already been taught and check in on our kid’s mental health. That would be a better than full public school (or therapies) administered at home. Thank you for your comment, I truly appreciate you and value you and your role as a teacher. You are NOT replaceable, which is an underlying message of this roll out from the higher ups to their valuable teachers.

    2. Bravo… I agree 100%. This type of human are the ones who haven’t ever had any necessities. Who also have others to show them support. But what happen to those who are single parent, or those who have no idea of school system or worst, who have a language barrier? How are those parents will become helpful to their children to help them succeed?

  13. I’m with you, Anne-Marie. My special needs son requires nursing and the amount of Teletherapy and work we’re doing to keep him well at this time is already extraordinary. Mind you, with less support from his doctors and therapists because they’re only available via particular platforms and not in person visits. Very important medical visits were canceled by the hospital because we can’t risk covid exposure.
    Then my other older children need help, have issues with internet connectivity, losing work due to lost connections, teachers that are overwhelmed and can’t offer the support we need, and their limited hours mean I can’t talk to one because I’m busy with another child or on another conference call. This is a time of transition and we’re all struggling to make it work, and overwhelmed with the expectations of staying well, finding toilet paper, food, working, risking exposure. Not to mention our nurse, who works twelve hours in our home, then leaves to go home and homeschool her four children. Every time my son rests, she excused herself to FaceTime her children through their assignments.

    To Karex – suck it up, buttercup? Did you read this story? On this blog? She’s not burying her head in the sand. None of us who are trying are. We know it’s day two and it might get easier. Hitting pause on school and returning to normal WHEN THINGS ARE NORMAL (and if you’re to believe experts, the President, etc. – it will. It might not be the same, but we’ll return to the real world and then our kids can too. I understood your point of view and can appreciate a healthy opposing opinion, but your last paragraph? How insensitive.
    We’re sure your husband is working hard, but, “at the risk of sounding harsh” his income isn’t our problem.

  14. This, I feel was intended to give some structure and encourage education. During this time too many parents are just letting kids plug in to TV, video games, movies, without doing something structured and educational. It is an experiment. All we can ask is to try. If you can’t, you cNt, but so many kids do want to work to graduation, college admissions, etc. They need interaction with friends they have grown up with and miss. We need to push our kids and not just let them vegetate! This may be the only structure some kids can get!

    1. Totally agree we should provide learning opportunities. However, I have a google classroom full of assignments (11 from yesterday, nine from today) along with 46 worksheets to complete this week. There will be required tests, grades and assignments due. The uniformity is gone. The expectations upon students hasn’t changed but their environment, their educator and the platform has. This is not OK.

      1. I totally understand, our children needs an education, however, in the situation where we at currently, teachers should at least consider to at least low the volume of work assignments. I understand they need to continue to operate and provide what the state required, but they also need to understand, that unfortunately parents are the one who’s helping in this unpredictable situation. I have a middle school student who has 7 classes. While having those many classes, I’m seeing more than one assignment per class each day. This first week I felt bombarded with the many school work they have send to them. I felt the work accumulated from the past week not been getting back, have been thrown all at once. And not to mention all the work having a deadline. As a working mom, I’m getting behind my work in order to be able to help with school. Teachers should at least low the amount of work and keep in mind that unfortunately the children aren’t having their usual lecture. Unfortunately, not everyone function the same as other. Yes, we are parents that want to see our children to succeed and accomplish their goal. But if everyone, empathize with others, we all be able to function productively.

    2. This is also true, we need to try, at the very least to keep out kids connected with their friends and have some type of structure.

  15. And in my small midwestern city, parents are complaining that our district has provided resources and suggestions but is not requiring or expecting anything from us. I think some parents have the misconception that the district would somehow implement online learning that would require no effort from parents, would get their children to end of year benchmarks and not create unequal opportunities that would leave out our poor, our non- English speaking, or our special needs students. Because it would be easy for a district to design that system in a week, right?
    I’m sorry that your district is placing this burden on you. Taking care of our families is really the only important task at the moment.

  16. As teacher, I completely agree with you! But please also know that I am being lectured to about the “optics” of closing schools. We are told that the communities will not tolerate paying teachers to do nothing. So, to justify my pay and my value, I am assigning work…and it breaks my heart. What these kids need right now is not online assignments. Unfortunately, in education, no one listens to teachers.

    1. Steve!!! Oh my goodness, bless you for speaking up on behalf of fellow teachers. I don’t think teachers need to do anything more to prove their value!! I think you guys should get paid double and let’s consider that if you do “nothing” for the remainder of the school year, you’re still underpaid so we can just call it a day! I’d happily increase my property taxes whatever is necessary for teachers to feel they are valued! I’m saddened that you have to play into the “optics” because right now, the optics aren’t good anywhere, and there’s no need to pretend because there’s no faking it. From the teachers I’ve spoken to, you are certainly not alone in your sentiments. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  17. Thank you for putting into words what Ive been feeling and breaking down over!! I’ve never felt the sting of being a single parent and feeling so alone as i do now when it hits me every day. I’m scared for my child, trying to work (thankful I still have a job) and now trying to navigate through website and apps that my son needs me to sit and read/do with him!! It’s nearly impossible, and adds so much stress to an unbelievable already maxed out stressful day. Isn’t there anyone in the school board, district, someone in charge that can acknowledge this is not working and change something quickly before you tear loving families apart and into worse meltdowns than they need???

  18. Good Morning Ann-Marie:
    I understand your frustration, and I completely empathize. I am a public school teacher with two daughters at home, one in Kindergarten and the other sixth grade at an IB middle school. Each day, I have to keep track of my daughters’ learning as a parent. Meanwhile, I am monitoring the progress of all 64 students that I teach 2 subjects (English Language Arts and Reading) effectively 128 students in terms of content. I am in contact with parents of students with IEPs and case managers to provide support. I field calls, emails, and text from my students all day. We know this is challenging for parents, students; and it is challenging for us as well. This is an unprecedented time. Reach out to your daughter’s teachers. They will be very willing to help. Most importantly though, spend time with your daughter. As a teacher, I can tell you I have already resigned myself to being very flexible with all my students (as have other teachers). Take a breath, do the best you can, but remember, she will get anything she’s missing upon her return. Focus on staying safe and healthy.
    P.S. We can’t wait to get our kiddos back.

  19. I have been fighting on this with my daughter’s private school since after the spring break. They didn’t even give us a week, like other schools, to prepare for virtual learning. I am a working, single mom of the child with ADHD who needs prompting and LIVE educational support. I have a family member who is terminally ill and another family member who is fighting long term illness. I have to share my computer with my 9-year-old after working all day. I have to sleep, cook and shower and do at least something minimal for myself to keep sanity. I have been requesting to cut school workload in half and extend deadlines with no active response to my requests.

    Can we please sign a petition?!

  20. Thank you for this letter! So perfectly said and hits on so many things that the Department and Education and then our individual school districts just don’t see or understand or maybe a combo of both. Regardless, your points are spot on and they need to retract for the good of all and allow families to get through this time as they see fit. Best of luck to you and your family and stay safe!

  21. Sad, very sad, the entire situation. Teachers are thrown in a world where we are also feeling lost, overwhelmed, micro-managed and mentally and physically drained. This was not what I signed up for (teaching for over 40 years)….Directives from the Board Of Education changes by the minute, and teachers are expected to comply. I teach middle school (Intensive Reading), as well as English to adults. ( English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) These adults are from 20 different countries, and they are at varying levels of language acquisition. How do I teach such students on a virtual platform? I would rather wake up at 5:00 am, as I did before, greet my middle school students at my door at 8:30, call parents to help with behaviors, if I need to, “fight” with my students who are a little nonchalant about their learning….everything except this online teaching. FRUSTRATING!!!!!! I am tired, angry and feeling lost….. The virus, we have no control over, my fear is that we are going to lose a lot of our children, parents and teachers and many others….. physically and emotionally. I feel for my parents, but I am there for them and their children in every way I can. However, while we wait for normalcy, let us try our best to hold each other up, and live one minute at a time. This too will pass, but at what cost?
    Dr. J.

  22. Well said and they need to listen. This pandemic is a matter of life and death. Let’s get our families together first!
    Any of you with children with disabilities my heart goes out to you! As a teacher, I want your child with me to bond and learn! I miss them. I complain about the my students daily, but I love them as much as my own child! I hope his teachers have that in their hearts!

  23. My question is…, at this point in school (April 2020) what are the classes/subjects that are essential for students to learn that they have not already been exposed to/taught during the school year? Isn’t April and mid-May, when school ends? And , isn’t this time for review and end of the year activities?

    This is an honest question, and in no way is intended to be snarky/snarley (not sure of the correct phrase) at all.

    If I do not understand, please kindly say.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who answers.

  24. What does the Dept of education think it’s gaining? This is doing nothing but adding more stress to an unprecedented stressful situation. I agree 100% that a break from education to focus on what’s infinitely more important at a time like this, and perhaps focus on actual life skills for a change, would not hurt, and be greatly beneficial to everyone. I can see some book reading assignments, creative projects… Things of that nature but all by student choice and what interests them. We are spending the better part of our mornings helping our kids get setup and navigate their online meetings and assignments… While trying to hold down two businesses! Utterly insane. Meanwhile, Congress has voted themselves a nice raise, I wonder how many are having to take time away from their legislative duties to assist their kids with online learning?

  25. I couldn’t agree more! I have just honestly decided and been very vocal about the fact that I do not care what my kids learn for the rest of this school year. Anything more at this point is just a bonus. Even if my children have to repeat a grade, I will not let this become an all consuming and overwhelming process that causes more anxiety and discord in my children’s lives or that of myself and my husband.
    I’ve already had my hours cut. My husband works in sales and has lost 1/3 of his pay because his account is closed from the company he sells to (a huge company) being entirely shutdown. We are not upset that any of this happened. These companies are taking the responsible actions they need to take to keep people safe and stay afloat. We are struggling against an unseen enemy. The tension at times is palpable and at other times nonexistent. Our children feel and know it too.
    When this thing first started my children went to school where all the kids were anxiously talking about the coronavirus. The school administration made the decision to tell the kids they were not allowed to talk about it. Instead of addressing the problem head on with collaboration from parents this decision added a measure of uncertainty and fear to the situation. This only led to more talk amongst students. By the time my children returned home they were asking me in hushed voices, “Mom did you know coronavirus is everywhere, but we can’t talk about it?” As I asked them to tell me more in an effort to discover what they had heard or knew, I realized that the only things they were hearing was that it was something that is killing everyone and is too scary to talk about. Kids are experiencing fear and anxiety right along with us.
    We don’t need a to do list every morning for ourselves or our kids. Neither do our teachers. We need support, love, fun activities and stress relief. Everyone needs to be told that their best is good enough right now. We need to be teaching them how to help others during this time. We need to teach them life skills. We need to be teaching and maybe even learning some ways to stay healthy mentally.

  26. I wept when I heard yesterday that schools were closed until September in Oregon where we only have 43 covid -19 deaths and plenty of hospital beds and ventilators, so it is not preventing massive numbers of deaths or overwhelming the healthcare system. In fact , 20,000 healthcare workers have been laid off in the last three years since all elective procedures are cancelled. We have been on shutdown since March 15. I truly don’t see how closing elementary schools until September helps children or families who are just struggling to survive emotionally and financially. I noted recently that Denmark, Sweden, South Korea, etc never closed or are opening up their primary schools now- with a higher infection rate than Oregon. Primary students really need that one on one face to face attention to have real learning and the social component with their peers is so important also.

    My second grade granddaughter has severe ADHD and this crisis has only increased her distractibility. She did fine the first day when all she had to do was record videos to all her teachers that she missed them. Now I am pulling teeth to get her to simple assignments- hours spent begging, enticing, cajoling, re-directing to begin or complete simple assignments. She is behind 31 “activities” and there is no way for her to catch up. After two weeks I am ready to throw my hands up. And I don’t want to hear any more cheery emails from Special Services how they are “here for me” when they aren’t and can never be here for me or my grand daughter in this distance leaning environment.

  27. I am so tired… ! I have become the teacher and to think we have 27 more days of this. I really thought when this while thing started that it would be a virtual classroom with the teachers “virtually” teaching and then assigning classwork and some HW. but it has become us teaching them. I work a 9-5 from home and he spends about 5 hours doing work and I can barely concentrate on what i have to do because he’s always calling me cause technical issues or not understanding the work. Also, the teachers are calling me during my “work hours” expecting me to pick up. It’s too much. They should have just closed school on May 1st. We are basically doing the teacher’s job and not getting paid for it.

  28. I absolutely agree. This should be taken to news outlets and the top seats at the Department/ Board of Education because parents are outraged and frustrated but nobody is listening. This letter needs to definitely be heard!!!

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