Op-ed by Sandra Whitcomb
It’s been nearly a year since schools in Rochester were first closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a parent of two very different students who attend Rochester Prep High School, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles and triumphs of learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
First, the pandemic has made me appreciate Rochester Prep even more than I did before.
Last year, schools closed on a Friday in March. By the following Tuesday, my children had Chromebooks and began virtual learning without missing a beat. There was no lapse in their education, no excuses for why it couldn’t be done. Just a plan that was executed with lightning speed.
I have friends whose children go to other schools and they tell me their children are online for an hour a day at most. They tell me their children are having a hard time because they don’t have face-to-face interaction with their teachers.
During a typical day, my children spend at least six hours with their teachers. My daughter, who has asthma and has been remote since last March, is actually thriving online. If she has a question, she can send the teacher an email, and she’ll always get a response back.
Of course, remote learning is not for everyone. My son, who has ADHD, thrives in a classroom but struggles in front of a computer. The support we’ve received from the school has been nothing short of amazing. I can email a staff member at the school at 11 p.m. and get a response.
I am glad the school has reopened and he’s returning to the classroom for hybrid instruction, where I know he will thrive.
This is also my son’s senior year and applying for college has been a challenge, but the college prep staff has been on top of all of the deadlines, making sure he has submitted applications, essays and financial aid forms on time.
The past year has certainly been far from ideal. I especially feel bad for my son, who is missing out on many of the fun senior year activities that can’t be done in the virtual world. The school went out of their way to offer a virtual prom and other events to engage students and maintain their connections to their peers and teachers.
But I am especially happy that they are both attending a school whose staff is committed to ensuring that their education continues, despite this awful pandemic.
Sandra Whitcomb is the parent of two children who attend Rochester Prep High School.