Amanda Housh

St. John Nepomuk Catholic School
Yukon, OK
Amanda Housh, Parent

 Better Together: Back to the Building 

August 12, 2020 marked a long-awaited day for our family and school community.

Mid-summer we received a letter from our Principal announcing the “Better Together: Back to the Building plan” for the 2020-2021 school year. As a parent this 29 page document provided so much relief, I had confidence that our children would return to school safely and there were plans in place for different circumstances relating to Covid-19 that could impact our school community.

After many months away from school, our kids could not wait to return to the classroom. I too was beyond excited to see our kids get back to a routine that felt “normal” and safe.  While I hold a doctorate level degree, teaching our kids at home certainly is not my strength. Now more than ever, I have a brand new perspective and huge appreciation for our educators. If you are a teacher or educator reading this, God bless you!

My name is Amanda; our children are Sophia (4th grade), Liam (3rd grade) and Colin (Kindergarten). We love our school, St. John Nepomuk, for so many reasons; but how they responded to the Covid-19 pandemic is the absolute icing on the cake.

We were thrilled to see our school had a safe plan to return to the classroom on time for the fall semester! Some of the changes included masks for everyone, morning temperature checks with Covid-19 symptom screenings, spacing out student desks, adjustments to scheduling to reduce student capacity in common areas, virtual morning assemblies, restricting outside visitors in the school and personal water bottles for each student rather than community water fountains.

Getting kids out of the door each morning looks different these days. “Do you have your spare mask packed?” and “Don’t forget your water bottle” are new to our morning routine, but the fact that our kids are going to school and handle the new protocols with great ease amazes me every day!

Amen- for technology, creativity, and innovative thinking in a new circumstance!  Friends, I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite things that happened in Liam’s class this semester. Liam’s teacher was home for 14 days on an exposure quarantine mid-September. Mrs. Brown’s class of 13 students continued learning as planned. I was super impressed to get an email with a photo my child’s teacher teaching on the smart board safely from home. While technology is super impressive, the more impressive part was the look on the kids faces and delight from Liam after school when he shared about how Mrs. Brown “came to class” that day to teach! While the substitute teacher was there to monitor the students, they had their very own homeroom teacher remoting into the classroom to provide the valuable hands-on teaching they needed.

School looks different this year with front door drop offs, virtual Accelerated Reader and Honor Roll ceremonies, Zoom Parent Teacher Conferences, and no class field trips off campus; but I am so thankful for the in-person educational opportunity our children have. We will keep the distance learning plan tucked in our back pocket in the event of community spread or other necessary closure. We are equipped, we are safe, we are learning! We will get through this pandemic together. “Better Together” allows our students an opportunity to focus on important academic and social emotional needs, while providing a physically safe place to learn.

Disclaimer: Content provides insights on education practices from the perspective of schools, parents, students, grantees, community members and other education stakeholders to promote the continuing discussion of educational innovation. Content and articles are not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to be an endorsement by the Department or the Federal government of any views expressed, products or services offered, curriculum or pedagogy.