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Oregon Family Magazine

Combatting The Covid Slide

11/01/2020 02:01PM ● By Morgan Jemmali
What a year! ... and it’s not over!  Employers across America now well-understand how interconnected our lives are, and how dependent on local schools families are - for reasons that stretch beyond academics and education. With some teachers mandated to online instruction, and others attending classes in potentially infected environments, our teachers have become a new line of essential worker, alongside healthcare workers, grocery clerks, postal workers, police and firefighters; all working hard to keep life safe, and manageable. Coaches are learning (the hard way) that being physically and mentally strong doesn’t stop the virus from infecting athletes and disrupting sports seasons.

But this pandemic presents more than just a health threat. Students can potentially lose more than a year of curriculum due to the “Covid Slide”!  So, what can schools, teachers, and parents do to overcome the online challenges of distance learning and remote teaching? Here are some K-12 ideas and recommendations offered by Morgan Jemmali, Director of Mathnasium Eugene.

  • For parents, to make online learning more effective and productive, offering headsets with microphones and noise reduction (like Logitech H390 - $25) gives students a better, more productive learning experience. Also, digital pens, with a writing tablet (like XP-Pen Star G640 - $40) make handwriting and drawing a lot nicer and faster. 
  • With technology being the fundamental foundation of this “new learning normal”, all families need access to high speed internet. Additionally, more affordable access to private tutoring for students who might be struggling could help close the learning gap.
  • Consider alternative online classroom models that make learning customized to fit each student’s needs. As an example, Mathnasium’s team-teaching rotation model would allow math teachers to work together, as a team, to teach any math concept to any student, from any grade level, resulting in 3-to-1 student-teacher class ratio.  
  • For students’ mental health, offer an online “happy hour” after daily instructions. This is a safe and fun way for students from each grade level to meet in breakout rooms and have fun cooking or drawing or singing or dancing or playing board games together.
  • When classroom instruction resumes, rather than dividing students into two groups, and have them alternate in-school and at-home instruction every week.  Students could also be divided into five groups and alternate days of the weeks to optimize protection, so that in the event of infection, quarantine precautions can be taken for the 20%, instead of half of the student population.
  • For the health and safety of everyone involved, equipping classrooms with 3M HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) anti-virus filters in HVAC systems for greater protection.
While we wait for a proven vaccine, no paycheck is worth the health of your child. Staying safe at home for a year is better than shortening a life by a decade. The “Covid Fatigue” is real, so patience is the new name of the game, not money, because life is priceless.

Coach Mo (“Mo the Math Pro” on STAR 102.3’s weekly show, “Become a Math Ninja”) has 2 kids in 4J French Immersion program, coaches tennis at YMCA and soccer at Eugene Timbers. He has taught math, accounting, marketing, Excel, French, and Arabic for over 20 years, and is currently the Director of Mathnasium of Eugene. Mo can be reached at [email protected]