To the Editor:
After reading the article “Teachers in Limbo as Districts Rush to Boot Up Online Learning” (April 1, 2020), I could not help thinking that our lack of preparedness as educators could have been avoided. In February, the novel coronavirus was looming. We saw how the virus was ravaging through China, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere. Based on expert doctors’ predictions, politicians across America had ample time to strategize.
Instead, many states stood firm that schools should remain open. Many politicians said they could not close schools because educators are essential workers. Their indecision was time lost for teachers to be trained in remote learning. With enough time, we could have pulled resources to prepare to support our students, especially multilanguage-learners and students with special needs. Instead, we scrambled with only a few days to learn how to use various technology platforms and create work packets for our students. District leaders did not think of three things: Teachers and parents have various learning styles just like students, there’s inequity of access to technology and Wi-Fi for both students and educators alike, and some families have more than one child at home with only one electronic device.
There should always be a contingency plan for emergencies. Educators have had no time to complain. We had to pull up our bootstraps and teach our students, while also praying that we are truly meeting their needs remotely.
Universal Literacy Coach
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the April 29, 2020 edition of Education Week as We Needed Better Contingency Plans