Date Posted

I have always loved April because it usually signals the end of winter, snow showers become rain showers, and although I have allergies everything beautiful starts blooming.  Mostly I love it because it's my birthday month.  

Last April though we were in the midst of the most devastating global virus most of us have ever seen, and we were locked in not knowing how much worse it was going to get. I spent my birthday last year by myself but I celebrated and was just grateful to have been able to be healthy considering how much sickness and loss I was watching and hearing about. In my family and my personal circle of friends, like a lot of you, COVID was devastating.  I lost a friend from college, some good people from my church, some friends lost their parents and grandparents, and multiple friends were infected and hospitalized. At the time my uncle, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was infected and it was taking a toll on him. April 2020 was one of the gloomiest I can remember. This April brings with it so much hope and a much better outlook. We are starting to see some major improvements in our situations. That doesn't mean that things are completely back to 'normal' but with precautions and protections we can make our way back to almost living life like we remember. 

In regards to how quickly our work environment and day to day teaching expectations will change, we are not sure. However we see some protocols are shifting and spaces are being returned as well as more students in person K-12. We will monitor the rest of the school year closely and listen for your feedback. The goal of the district is to continue to 'open up' and provide a way for us to get a glimpse of what the 21-22 school year will look like. We are going to be invited to be part of the discussion on that and we will make it clear again what did and did not work for teachers and students this year. We have seen that learning from home as a long term solution to the crisis is not academically beneficial to most students and is a drain on teachers. It can't become a 'go-to' or permanent fix. Students need to be in person and teachers cannot split their time on a screen with some students and have students in the room with them simultaneously.  We know multiple plans will be discussed in preparation for what the state education department mandates to districts. We are advocating locally and through NYSUT statewide so that SED hears that financially plausible options need to be available to districts across Long Island and the state. We hope to have some details about what September could look like before we leave this year.

If you haven't seen the video from LI Teachers it urges our community members not to depend on pandemic-related options for the long term.