By Jodi Yonder – The value of public schools has never been felt more acutely than after the Coronavirus pandemic forced classrooms to close and sent our kids home to learn from home. The impact on communities unfolded as many parents were laid off, while those still working had no childcare. The lives of millions of Floridians were upended. And on another level Floridians were reminded that some children received their only meals of the day in their school cafeteria. The dilemma brought new appreciation of the hundreds of thousands of Florida teachers responsible for educating more than 3 million students.
The Florida Education Association (FEA)has been evaluating a host of strategies for opening schools in the fall. There are priorities set in that process according to FEA President Fedrick Ingram: “The safety of our students, teachers and staff has never been more important. That always comes first. Combine that with teaching differently while maintaining standards is a challenging task.” He says that the classroom environment will take on a new look. Some of the reopening strategies could include:
- Students with limited digital access could attend class three days a week and spend two learning at home.
- Social distancing would be used, and lunch could be served at desks.
- Constant hand washing and wipe-downs of common areas.
- There could be split sessions at school and home.
- Older and at risk-teachers could be providing instruction from home.
There will be no more crowded cafeterias, playgrounds, gymnasiums or buses for a while. But health experts say the bigger problem is among families of color, who are twice as likely to die from complications of the virus combined with other preexisting conditions. African Americans top the list of people dying at alarming rates. This frightening analysis offers an opportunity for families to engage in activities that help fight the virus and encourage new healthy habits. “Exercise and eating right is the enemy of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. African Americans suffer from these health issues above all ethnic groups. Exercise and diet provide a natural weapon against these deadly diseases,” according to Dr. Lauren Thornton. She suggests a few easy activities to engage children and improve your health.
- Family walks for 30 minutes three times a week allow for conversation without cell phones and other distractions, give the body and mid-section a workout and take off pounds, especially when more time is added.
- Make healthier meals — less starch, more vegetables, fish, chicken more often, and fruits.
- Let your children make simple meals for lunch and dinner to emphasize the importance of good health and helping the family.
- Cut back on sodas and drink more water.
It’s worth the effort. For more help during this difficult time go to facebook.comgoodneighborhoodpublicschools.sfl