Sidney students return to ‘virtual’ classes

SIDNEY — Chromebooks have been distributed. Meal pickup schedules have been finalized. Sidney City School students have “returned” to the classroom following spring break.

But — like students across the state — it’s not in the normal classroom. Students are learning from home with guidance from their teachers.

“We are empathetic to the fact that families may be experiencing different hardships right now, and have developed short-term and long-term learning plans with this in mind.” said Brooke Gessler, SCS K-12 curriculum director.

“We do not want to add stress to any family,” she said. “We are operating under a short-term education plan right now, which provides our students learning opportunities through April 3. Our teachers worked hard to collaborate on March 23 to develop different learning activities and resources for families to access whether or not they had access to technology.”

Print copies of this were made and distributed at the meal pick-up locations. Copies will be available at future pickups on Mondays and Thursdays.

“We are encouraging students to participate and engage with the material to keep their brains active. There is no expectation to turn anything in during this time,” said Gessler. “Our teachers are currently developing long term learning opportunities should we not return to school April 6. Again, we will make learning equitable for students and communicate how families can pick up print resources to have at home if technology is a barrier.

The district’s teachers, administrators and the curriculum department are holding virtual meetings to collaborate and solidify these long-term learning opportunities.

“Our students will be encouraged to complete and return the print activities or submit the material online. Our teachers will provide meaningful feedback and track progress,” she said.

For both short-term and long-term plans, teachers are making personal calls, sending emails, making videos, using Facebook live, creating Facebook groups for classes, using Google Classroom, and using various apps to communicate with students and families.