A roundup of resources for schools, teachers, and families
By Barb Szyszkiewicz and Rebecca Gutherman-Conte
As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) becomes a reality in more and more communities, schools are tasked with finding creative solutions to the problem of continuing to educate students as the possibility of quarantine looms.
The high school my (Barb’s) youngest son attends has already notified parents that they are in frequent contact with the Health Departments in our county and state, as well as the Centers for Disease Control. Because the school already has cyberinstruction capabilities for all students, parents know that there’s a plan in place in case of any emergency that could cause a school closure, including but not limited to quarantine.
Does your school have a plan? Take our online poll and tell us about it.
This article will be updated as resources become available.
Wash Your Hands!
From the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: Make prayer part of the hand-washing protocol to fight virus
From St. Mary’s Catholic School in Vineland, New Jersey: First-graders remind us how to wash our hands and keep the germs away
Up-to-the-Minute News: Find it on Twitter
But don’t go just anywhere. You want to make sure you’re getting information from a credible source. Try these:
The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: @CDCgov
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention account with focus on flu: @CDCflu
US Department of Health & Human Services: @HHSgov
Secretary of the US Department of Health & Human Services Alex Azar: @SecAzar
Former US FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb, MD: @ScottGottliebMD
Follow your local bishops on Twitter! Here’s Nelson Perez of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: @archbishopPerez.
The Church in a Time of Epidemic
All public Masses in the Diocese of Rome have been canceled until April 3, Catholic News Agency reports. Wednesday, March 11, 2020 will be a day of prayer and fasting: The Diocese of Rome has called on all Catholics in Rome to observe a day of fasting and prayer for the victims of coronavirus on March 11, and invited people to tune into a special televised Mass.
A prayer and reflection from the president of the USCCB in time of coronavirus (from March 13).
General Health Resources
Educational Resources for Schools Adopting Distance- or Cyber-Learning Programs
Technology educator Clay Smith (@ClayCodes on Twitter) shared his own roundup of strategies, resources, and links to important information and services. This includes videos, information for kids, preparedness tips, and edtech strategies for remote learning.
Veteran educator and author Kate Messner offers resources for teachers, parents, librarians, and students to make sure that learning continues even if classroom instruction is disrupted.
From Kahoot! Guide to Distance Learning
From Google: Teach from Home, a temporary hub of information to help teachers (includes a section for families)
CoSpaces Edu Pro offers free access for the period of your school’s closure
The National Center for Learning Disabilities explores two new resources for special-needs students
Free educational resources for schools closing due to COVID-19: Bookmark this site, which is frequently updated.
Catholic Brain is offering FREE access to their entire platform of thousands of Catholic games and activities for children. This content entertains children while also giving the hope in Christ to calm their fears. This special access lasts till Divine Mercy Sunday.
Encyclopaedia Britannica is offering all schools and students free access to its popular LaunchPacks® Science and Social Studies learning content. To access the platform, schools can register at BritannicaLearn.com/Covid-19-free-resources and refer to the ‘how to use’ guide for remote learning at LaunchPacks. A team member will promptly help users set up free access to LaunchPacks and share remote learning information and resources.
PBSLearningMedia.org is offering a special collection of resources organized by grade and subject area. Find videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home. Create a free account to save and organize content.
MEL Science, an established expert in the development of hands-on science kits for home use, has launched MEL Academy, a series of webinars delivered by science teachers giving online science lessons and hands-on demonstrations for students aged 5-16 years. For the next three months, the compelling webinars will cover the core curriculum science learning objectives, through hands-on practicals, theory, and digital resources. MEL Science’s virtual reality app with award winning science simulations will also be free, enabling students to build and play with science at a micro level. Please visit free home science experiments to preview more than 200 experiments. To register for MEL Academy please see the online schedule.
Major League Baseball and EVERFI, the leading social impact education and Official Education Partner of MLB, today announced the widespread availability of the “Summer Slugger” digital education platform to assist some of the 39 million students currently learning at home in the United States and Canada. Parents, legal guardians and teachers can access the program for students at SummerSlugger.com. Originally created as a first-of-its-kind program to address summer learning loss during vacation months, Summer Slugger is a free baseball-themed and gamified education course focusing on math and literacy skills.
Utilize apps such as Apple Clips, Garageband and podcasts.
Have students sign up for the Remind app so you can send them positive daily messages … Rebecca uses this to send a daily hope-filled scripture verse to students in her theology classes.
Have students involve their siblings in assignments so they are utilizing social interaction.
Set a good atmosphere for yourself and for them: light candles, open windows, sit outside if possible, put on music, and so on.
Try to avoid talking about the virus for prolonged periods.
Encourage them to keep a journal: one active goal for the day, one hopeful thing they’ve experienced.
It’s not spring break for everyone so focus will be short; keep instruction as lively and short as possible.
Read plays together over Zoom. Assign roles to various students and have them read scripts online.
Educational Resources to Recommend to Families
The Philadelphia Zoo will also host Facebook Live presentations each weekday at 2 PM Eastern in a series titled “Philly Zoo at 2.”
Wild Birds Unlimited has set up a webcam to monitor a barred owl’s nest. There are 3 eggs in the nest at present. View the Barred Owl Cam.
Learn about weather science and safety with the Owlie Skywarn program from the National Weather Service.
For Catholic families:
Here is how to access the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies lessons:
1. Obtain the password for free access to our website and the Gospel Weeklies lessons from your parish or school
2. Go to https://www.pflaumweeklies.com/lesson…
3. Click “Log In” in the upper right corner
4. Type in your email address and the password you received where it says “Already registered? Login below”
5. Click “Log In”
If you have a question about teaching a lesson, please email us at email@example.com.
Pray for saintly intercession! Fr. Brian Miller of the Diocese of Allentown offered the following list on Facebook:
Our School Nurse’s Advice
From Catholic Digest: A Prayer for the Sick
From CatholicTV: Prayer for healing and the containment of the virus
Rebecca Gutherman-Conte, MA, is a full-time campus minister and part-time theology teacher at Mount St. Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.
Barb Szyszkiewicz is managing editor of Today’s Catholic Teacher and editor of CatholicMom.com. Follow her on Twitter @franciscanmom.
All content copyright © Today’s Catholic Teacher/Bayard.com. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for classroom/parish use with full attribution as long as the content is unaltered from its original form. To request permission to reprint online, email firstname.lastname@example.org.