FAIRBORN — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced March 30 that Ohio schools will remain closed until at least May 1. Schools across the state were originally set to re-open and welcome students back into classrooms on Monday, April 6 after closing in Mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but positive cases of the virus in Ohio are on the rise.
Fairborn Superintendent Gene Lolli highlighted that teachers originally had given students enough lessons to take them through this week. However, the superintendent said Fairborn educators have been working on a curriculum plan through April and are ready to roll out.
Fairborn teachers have gotten creative in the delivery of their lessons through the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of technology. Multiple educators are offering virutal storytimes and lessons with the help of YouTube.
“I’ve been doing virtual sign language lessons on YouTube with my class and for people in the community,” Fairborn High School American Sign Language Teacher Michelle Lee said. “Not only is it fun to learn, but it’s educational as well.”
Lee, who is piloting the ASL classes at FHS for the first time this year, has offered YouTube ASL lessons highlighting the basics of the language, such as the alphabet, colors, family signs, animals and more. She is also utilizing Google Classroom to conduct her lessons for her high school classes which are highlighting signing various songs.
“I enjoy it,” Lee said of her virtual YouTube lessons, which are open to community members. “It’s fun and hopefully puts some smiles out there.”
Meanwhile, Fairborn’s youngest Skyhawks have had virtual storytimes to look forward to thanks to Fairborn Primary School Principal Vicki Hudepohl, and first-grade teacher Emily Fultz.
“The teachers have been great,” Hudepohl said. “And the parents have handled this very well.”
Fultz made the decision to offer daily virtual storytimes after realizing that her students would miss out on their usual routine of reading a story after recess. She is reading one story at a time, as well as chapters from the Junie B. Jones series of books. She also opens up a virtual Q-and-A session with the kids at the end of the YouTube storytimes and allows the children to ask whatever they wish.
The first-grade teacher remembered the original call being made to close schools taking place on a Thursday — and the uncertainty in the days that followed.
“We were out on bus duty and the teachers were looking at each other like ‘I don’t know when I’m going to see you again,’” Fultz said.
Hudepohl highlighted how impressed she was observing teachers within her building prepare for break. Educators across Ohio were alerted on Thursday, March 12; the last day students were in the buildings was Monday, March 16.
“We had short notice, but quick turnaround,” she said, adding that after teachers were alerted of the upcoming break, they had sent information to parents within one hour. “We worked together.”