HOWELL – The evening of March 19 should have been filled with some fundraising fun at the Ardena Elementary School. It would have been the night that the school PTA’s annual gift auction was to be held but it was cancelled.
The gift auction along with a sweetheart dance and various other activities within the township school district were either cancelled or postponed due to the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
This new reality that has many people working from home and has shut the doors of school buildings has caused a bit of an adjustment for adults, children and teens.
Ardena PTA president Lauren Canova is a working mom. Her husband is an accountant is working from home and she has three daughters who are currently learning remotely. She admits, it has been a definite change in the normal routine for the family. As she is in touch with other PTA members and families, she is seeing how many others are coping with the situation.
“I work as a health care provider, I’m a mom and now I guess I’m a teacher. I have two middle schoolers and an elementary fourth grader. In representing the PTA, all and all I think all the teachers across the district are doing a great job given everything we’ve been put up against in a real tight timeframe,” Canova said.
“The reality is these kids need face to face instruction and it’s a little more difficult for the working parent that is now working at home and is also now an instructor. There is a little frustration on the parent as well as the child,” she said.
“The teachers as well as the principals have been amazing. They are available from 10 to 2 with any questions. The kids can interact with them and they are trying to figure out how it is going. My daughter’s teacher from Ardena sent a personal e-mail expressing that if she had any questions to please reach out to her,” Canova added.
In assisting The Howell Times for this article, Canova reached out to several parents who provided feedback about their adjustment to the situation. That feedback included, “someone said the remote instruction has been great. The amount of work has been very adequate and she was impressed how the teachers posted the lesson plans,” Canova said.
Other feedback noted, “another person said it is going well but her child said because it is all digital it is a little boring and she definitely misses her teacher and that one-on-one instruction,” Canova said. “Other than that, everyone has been very happy with it.”
Canova’s 10-year-old daughter Alexa said she misses school. “I miss my teachers and my friends. I like one-on-one teaching. It really is nice to have communication off the internet but the work is easy to do. They aren’t giving us anything hard to do at the beginning. We aren’t going forward we are currently reviewing what we did. I want to learn something new.”
Her 12-year-old sister Ava, a middle school student, said “I feel a lot of pros and cons but I really miss teachers teaching us…online it gets confusing when it’s all typed up. I also miss the activities. We have a play, I’m in “Legally Blonde.” We don’t know how long this will be or if it will be cancelled. We worked during the winter on this. The new date we had is May 1-2 but my mom told me we might be out of school for longer and I keep practicing.”
Her sister Gianna, 14, who also attends Middle School North feels even worse about the situation as she is playing major character Paulette. “We’ve been rehearsing since October almost every day. Our whole cast has put so much work and hours into this.”
Gianna is also afraid of missing out on her school’s formal. “That it might be taken away from us is very upsetting.” As for missing her friends at this time, “group face time helps us out, Schoology helps us organize our lessons, and videos, we have a big group chats. This is different. I can help my sisters out with their school work. I help Ava with math and I help Alexa with the lap top.”
Other activities Gianna fears will end prematurely this school year include her participation on the track and an April 22 trip to New York City. “The Broadway shows got suspended so we might not be able to go. We had so many fun trips scheduled in June. If this all ends, we might not have them.”
Her mom noted that she also hopes that conditions change to allow things to go back to normal. She noted however that while Howell was closed for two weeks that she expects “we’ll probably be following New York which has a longer time frame. They will reassess that. The most important thing is that we are very safe and stay safe. We don’t really know what is going on with the virus itself.”