Thursday, March 12, 2020, students left their classrooms, not knowing it would be the last time they would physically be in those classrooms for a very long time. None of us were expecting the news we received on Friday, March 13th that would mean students would only be returning on March 17th to quickly grab items from their lockers and pickup their laptops before exiting the building. Students, as well as administrators, faculty, and staff, were both startled and confused by the orders by Governor Andrew Cuomo to shut down all schools in the state of New York for a minimum of two weeks.
Those two weeks soon turned into school closures for the remainder of the month of April. As of the date of this newsletter, we are now on pause until May 15th. Daily in-the -school-building-life has abruptly changed into completing assignments on Google Classroom and Schoology from home, communicating with teachers through Zoom, Google Hangouts, eMail, and Remind messages, and phone calls. Classwork is also being received in paper packets with information and assignments delivered by the transportation team. Daily breakfast and lunch meals are being prepared by our food service team and delivered by our transportation team right to students’ doorsteps. Our technology department works tirelessly making sure we are connected and able to continue to teach and reach our students and each other. Every staff member of every area of our K-12 building holds a positive role that makes us Westfield Strong. Whether it be a daily motivational message in our eMail, reaching out to say hello, sharing informative and helpful links, offering to help students, staff, and families, or coordinating time to come to the building. We all come together to provide help and support.
Flexibility is key as we provide remote learning. Keeping our students academically engaged and continuing methods to master concepts are abundant. The kindness and compassion our school family is made of, is in the forefront as we continue to share and celebrate good things remotely. Some of the activities taking place include a nightly Scholastic Guest Reader, a virtual Easter Egg Hunt, Westfield Scavenger Hunt, and Spirt Week, physical activity reminders, musical compilations, and Zoom friendships.
We adapted. We took remote learning in stride. We established routines. We long for the day when we can return to our classroom, see our students and Westfield families in person again. For something more familiar, more normal, whatever that may now be. While this transition to life outside our school building has been an adjustment for administrators, teachers, students, and families alike, one sentiment rings true for our Wolverines at Westfield Academy and Central School: We are Westfield Strong.
We miss you! Stay strong, Wolverines! Kimberly Alonge, Editor