Middle and elementary school’s experience with COVID-19

Souderton middle and elementary school’s are trying to make school enjoyable for the students while still trying to enforce rules for social distancing and wearing masks.

To keep students engaged, Souderton middle and elementary schools are implementing new projects and lessons to replace others that cannot be maintained with COVID-19 social distancing rules and regulations.
Indian Valley technology teacher Eileen McGreevey said teachers are “racking their brains” in order to create fun things for their students to do.
Indian Valley is still allowing sports. As well as wearing masks and staying socially distanced, students also have staggered dismissals and eat lunch both in the cafeteria and in the auditorium. There are no more than 2 students allowed to work together in the classrooms at a time.
McGreevy believes the students are adapting and dealing with it well.
“Honestly, I think students have been great. They’re extremely tolerant and good with masks and staying socially distanced,” McGreevey said.
Indian Valley FCS teacher Kelsey Faehner is having a bit more trouble since most of her pre-COVID lessons were hands-on and in groups, but she is “adapting and getting used to” the
new way she has to teach. Her lessons have students working independently and with different materials in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in elementary school, younger children are taking a bit longer to adapt to the pandemic, but are starting to get the hang of it.
Teachers and students are given lanyards so that when they take their masks off for mask breaks or during lunch, their masks don’t get lost or fall on the floor.
West Broad Street second grade teacher Tia Schwab said the lanyards are “helpful” and “keep everything organized.” The lanyards do keep the masks from falling off, but younger students need a little nudge to remember to keep them on or to cover their nose.
“Sometimes you have to remind them,” Schwab said, “but, overall, I think they’ve been really good with it.”
Students have had to relearn school all over again and get into a new routine, which could be challenging. Schwab has faced multiple challenges so far when it comes to teaching during the pandemic.
Supplies like books she has for the students are difficult to share, but still necessary for them to read.
Schwab does “65 to 70%” of her teaching on the carpet normally, but carpets have been taken out of the classrooms in order to decrease the risk of COVID-19.
As well as the carpet situation, students have plastic dividers on their desks so that they are separated completely. Although the students knock them over a lot, they are getting used to them.
“I think it pushed me as a teacher to really think outside the box to think about how to make this happen,” Schwab said.
The students and teachers are adjusting and changing in order to meet the rules and regulations that have been set to prevent COVID-19.
Towards the end of September, West Broad Street Elementary had closed for two weeks due to confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school. During that time, grades K-2 were given iPads, and grades 3-5 were given chromebooks to do online school. Now that they’re back in in-person school, they still have the devices.
“I’m really excited that they have individual i-pads, that has been great,” Schwab said. The iPads assist in replacing hands-on lessons with lessons that can be done safely without putting students at risk.