A classroom, usually full of students, sits quiet after schools shut down amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

COVID-19 has put an emphasis on the importance of student teacher communication, as schools across the nation have closed and transitioned to online distance learning. 

Santa Clarita elementary schools have not been immune. Within weeks after closing, teachers, students and parents have quickly adapted to online learning while still adhering to California State Standards. 

“We started to develop a template for each day that fulfilled the two hours for everyday learning including math, science, language arts, P.E. and social studies” said an anonymous Wiley Canyon Elementary School teacher. 

Starting on April 13, elementary school students will be expected to check in online to make sure they are submitting all their assignments on time.

Most teachers have been utilizing programs students are already familiar with and have used in class, such as Google Classroom. 

When entering fourth grade, Wiley Canyon Elementary students are introduced to computer learning. Now, grades K through third are also expected to transition with the rest of the school to online learning.

With online learning being the only option, access to the internet and a laptop was worrisome for many families. The Wiley Canyon Elementary principal sent a survey out to students and their families to see where supplies were needed. 

“Students would pull up in the valet line and give their name, and a staff member would check out a computer and/or hotspot to them to take home,” said the teacher.

Wiley Canyon Elementary teachers put up encouraging signs around the campus where students would see them when picking up school supplies.

Teachers have been designing lessons to continue where they left off. They’ll be using different teaching modalities such as writing activities, video lessons and online workshops.   

With each class being unique, lessons are structured based on the academic level and style that works best for each group of students. This is why local schools are stressing the importance of parent-teacher communication and cooperation. 

“They will have all the tools they need, the only thing missing is having them in our presence and in our classrooms,” said the Wiley Canyon teacher. Nothing can replace that.” 

Wiley Canyon Elementary School Teacher

Struggling to adapt quickly to this unfamiliar way of learning is expected from both parents and students. Teachers are advising parents to be patient and allow time to process the stress and create a non-demanding schedule for school.

“And now I’m responsible for making sure they do and finish their school work, not necessarily grade it, so that’s why it’s not harder, just different” explains Miranda O’Steen, parent of a sixth grader at James Foster Elementary. 

Creating a productive and positive school environment at the student’s home plays a crucial piece in how successful they will be in continuing their school year online. Teachers are recommending parents allow time for play, study in small increments, communicate with the teacher and spend time together. 

With all the uncertainty of the global pandemic, families and educators should operate “with the expectation now that schools will not reopen, but classes are in” for the rest of this school year, said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Canyons News reporters Brandon Balayan, Patrick Moyna, Javian Vasconcelos contributed to this report.

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