Parents Try to Cope with COVID19
By Dianne Anderson
Stay at home and self-isolation orders have most parents perplexed about what to do academically with the kids.
For the school district, the big focus is on getting kids and families safely through the Coronavirus crisis in the coming weeks and months.
“Right now, the way I see it is that it’s truly life or death. Even education is second priority to making sure you’re safe,” said board member Danny Tillman. “At some point, we’ll have a real curriculum. The number one priority is social distancing right now.”
Teachers are not available anymore. Last Thursday, the statewide order went out to stay at home for all but the essential staff, like police or hospital personnel.
Only some curriculum access is online, but Tillman said lesson plans are being discussed for the coming weeks. If the quarantine drags on longer, school curriculum and student access are expected to evolve to a more structured format.
For now, education is on hold given the district’s limited capacity. He said that parents should do their best to help kids get through the lesson plans on tutorial websites, such as Khan Academy on YouTube, to help kids maintain their grades and learning at this time.
The school district has provided access to laptops to almost all students.
“Our district gave out Chromebooks years ago, and almost all of our students have access to the internet and a computer,” he said. “Look for lesson plans out there online at their kids’ grade level. You can always download books.”
Ana, who didn’t want to use her last name, is a home-based businesswoman and mom. Before the quarantine, she attended the parent’s conference and was picking up lesson packets from the school for her four boys, age six to eleven.
The youngest one can be a challenge.
“I tell him to read or write the numbers one to 100, but eventually the numbers turn into little houses with people running around,” she said.
There is only one Chromebook, and she uses her own laptop for her business. The boys can log in via their lunch number to see some of their homework, and continue where they left off.
“I can download things on my computer, but [my sons] use my computer and I have to work,” she said. “It’s okay if you have one or two kids. I have the Brady Bunch here.”
She has received emails that students are expected back school back by May 1. She has information on best websites to download resources, and learning apps per grade level. She said she is good at math, but not familiar with the new math. It’s not the same method she learned back in the day.
“It’s not going to help because they’re going to back to school and say, what? My mom showed me another way,” she said.
Sergio Luna said he was glad to see the school board members supporting the Inland Congregations United for Change, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) and Youth Action Project in the call to keep the kids out of the schools for safety’s sake.
While the school district is helping parents cope through COVID19 by providing food and resources, he is concerned that many parents are staying at home and not accessing the food, breakfast and lunch.
He hasn’t heard very much from the schools that his children attend, but that all kids need to be fed. He doesn’t think parents are accessing available food for the kids.
“People are still staying at home,” said Luna, a member of ICUC. “A lot of folks are getting laid off, and they are not going to be working for two to three weeks.”
Maria Garcia, spokesperson for the San Bernadino Unified School District, said on March 24, their partner Tzu Chi offered a drive through mobile pantry for SBCUSD and their families. Families were notified through robocall.
She said SBCUSD enrollment is about 46,000 students.
“We are still tallying the number of students who are taking advantage of free meals. However, anecdotally, participation is lower than we initially expected. We have also delivered hundreds of meals directly to the homes of our most vulnerable special education students,” she said.
San Bernardino City Unified School District Board President Gwen Dowdy-Rodgers announced that the Grab and Go lunch and next day’s breakfast runs from Now to April 3.
Children must be with their parents or guardians to receive a meal. Meals will be provided from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for children to 18 years at:
Pacific High School, 1020 Pacific Street
Alessandro Elementary, 670 Ramona Avenue
Wilson Elementary, 2894 Belle Street
Riley Elementary, 1266 North G Street
The California Charter Schools Association also provides meals now during spring break at Options for Youth, 985 South E Street, Suite A at the same times already listed.
For more information, see www.sbcusd.com/readysbcusd or call (909) 888-5437