Schools across the state, country and the globe are closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here in Massachusetts, schools are slated to reopen at the beginning of May, the state is now per Gov. Charlie Baker’s order. In the meantime, local educators in the Pioneer Valley are interacting with students on a daily basis remotely and are concerned about issues such as equitable access to technology for students and how the pandemic will impact their schools in the future.
At Hampshire Regional High School (which includes students from Westhampton, Southampton, Williamsburg, Goshen and Chesterfield), Principal Kristen Smidy recognizes that there’s a disparity between students who have access to the internet and online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic, and those who do not.
“We have some towns in our community that don’t even have internet access in the town,” she explained. “So, not only is it a socioeconomic issue, but it’s also an issue of availability, accessibility and equity.”
To address this problem while students aren’t attending school, Hampshire Regional has sent digital and physical copies of enrichment work to students that doesn’t count toward their grade, but is a review of previous learning, Smidy said.
“Some families want more work; some families are struggling with the work that’s assigned,” she said. “It’s really just about being flexible and accommodating to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can, but not overwhelming at the same time.”