Today the world is hugely affected by Corona outbreak. Every person in the world is affected by it either directly or indirectly. The fear of virus has spread all over the world. The virus came into existence since December 31, 2019 from Wuhan Province in China and is now spread to around 198 countries. Infected cases and death rates are increasing each day. This Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is declared Global Pandemic.
Till now Nepal stands in the list of least affected countries globally with 3 confirmed cases. But observing the seriousness of the situation globally, Nepal government has taken a lot of preventive measures to control the pandemic. On very short notice also most of the schools in the country were closed by 5th Chaitra i.e 18th March 2020. And now the whole nation is LOCKDOWN for a week. Every school, offices, industries, transportations, trades are stopped and people are supposed to be inside their houses. Life has just changed dramatically in the last few weeks. Moreover, here we are focusing on how each of us can serve to come across this uncertain situation, keep learning and supporting each other.
Nepal Government alone can not tackle this pandemic thus, need support of every individual from their level. We, being someone directly connected with the educational stream of the nation and children themselves, can contribute a lot to help our community and nation to fight against it. Teachers and school leaders are facing lots of uncertainties because of unplanned school closures and the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers are not just only responsible for children’s learning inside the school but are equally concerned with how a child spends his/her time besides school periods. Also in such crucial time, it is more important to assure that children are utilizing their time rationally and are not feeling helpless and scared. So, these days school leaders are concerned about finding resources and ways to stay connected with kids and teachers themselves.
Every uncertainty comes with the opportunity to learn something different in different ways. In Nepal we are not used to with distance and digital learning as we haven’t practised it yet. So, this is the right time to start it and make our students little familiar with the real world. Online resources and platforms can be equally helpful to stay connected and handle the situation with care. It’s the correct time to make students tech-friendly and aware them of how good citizens they can be in the digital world. We have always told our students that school is not only their place for learning and growing rather the whole world and even their home can be their source of education and knowledge. Self-study and self-learning can be encouraged as well. Keeping children engaged with DIYs and packets of home activities can be the best way any teacher can help their student not to go through anxiety. fear. Along with physical care, emotional support and wellbeing is also important to keep people fit and healthy. Besides students, school leaders also should be in frequent touch with parents so as to ensure that every kid is physically and emotionally well. Proper coordination and communication between parents and schools will not only make sure that kids are not suffering through anxiety and fear but it will also secure the warm relationship among them. Also here we see an overwhelming need for hope, for reminders of our collective resilience, for ways to cope with the intersecting anxieties and stresses that students and teachers are facing. This is the time to stand strong, together and be a supportive, reliable and encouraging source for the whole nation so we can resist this pandemic to spread across.
This is a difficult time for educators with a lot of uncertainty, and I wanted to contribute from my side a little bit. I recently came accross this article https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/teaching-through-coronavirus-what-educators-need-right-now which had wonderful information and I have compiled few interesting ideas from there
Resources to Share With Students: Ideas around how educators can create class accounts and design online classes like:
“Do Something” Projects: Many DIYs, arts and writing can be adaptable for distance learning and homeschooling. For example;
Resource List for Educators: It can include items like accurate news on Coronavirus, QNA and online reading materials like;
- Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically — New York Times Learning Network
Emotional Support: We equally need emotional support and mutual understanding. Something that can be emotionally supportive can be like this:
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource — National Association of School Psychologists
- Crisis Text Line
- The Trevor Project
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 — The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Resources Students Can Use Online:
- Free Online Learning Resources for Schools Affected by Coronavirus/COVID-19 — Tech Learning
- Amazing Educational Resources
- 125+ Amazing Online Learning Resources — We Are Teachers
- Free Educational Resources for Distance Learning — California Department of Education
- Discovery Education
- Doc Academy
- Storyline Online
- Storytime From Space
Printables for Pick-Up: For those students who are not in internet access can also be supported through printed material.
Best Practices for Online or Distance Learning: Best time to enhance distance learning and digital learning. It can be a help desk for educators and a hotline for parents and students. Like something you can find in this link:
- Learning Keeps Going
- 3 Ways to Turn Your Classroom Remote in a Hurry — KQED
- Resources for Teaching and Learning During This Period of Social Distancing — KQED
- How to Teach Online Courses — Future Learn
Resources for Families in Need: We can send text messages and communicate to students and families. like;
- Talking Points
- These Organizations Are Helping People Get Food and Medical Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Buzzfeed News
- Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools — Colorín Colorado
- Talking to Kids About Coronavirus: ASL and English Resources — American Society for Deaf Children
- Supporting Families During COVID-19 — Child Mind Institute
A Guide for Understanding Screen Addictions and Engaging in Responsible Digital Use
This offers lots of valuable information such as:
- How technology use has changed over the years (72% of adults now consider smartphones their most essential device)
- The impact of COVID-19 on screen time use and digital behaviors (smartphone usage in the UK surged by 30% during lockdown)
- Understanding screen addictions and how our devices affect our brains and change our behaviors (e.g. dopamine-driven reward loops)
- Helpful tips and useful advice for tackling device addiction, managing gadget and internet use, and creating healthier digital habits.
Resources for Caretakers: We can have open and honest conversation about coronavirus with kids.
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus — Child Mind Institute
- Coronavirus and Parenting: What You Need to Know Now — NPR
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Khan Academy
- Free Resources and Subscriptions for Remote Learning and Home Schooling Due to Coronavirus— QNS
- Coronavirus: Learning Resources for Kids Home From School — KIRO 7
- Guide to Supporting the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Musicians — Function Central
Let’s come together for collective resilience.