Our local school district just announced that hybrid learning will start at the end of October. We can choose to participate or continue staying at home and engaging in e-learning.
If we chose the hybrid learning model, our kids would go to school for about half the week and learn from home the rest of the time. Once again, we had to weigh the pros and cons of in-person learning.
This time, however, our decision was fairly easy. Ella is immunocompromised, as is her mother, Lindsay. We quickly chose online-only learning for all of our kids.
Up to this point, the learning has been entirely online. The kids are used to this format and have taken charge of their learning. They complete their assignments and ask for help when they need it. Each has a spot in the house where they are free from distractions, and they are mindful of the time when taking breaks and returning to class.
Last week, parent-teacher conferences were completed online through Zoom. We set up meetings with all of the junior high school teachers for Ella’s brother, Henry, and sister, Ava. We also set up a time for Ella’s teacher.
Even though the junior high conferences were only five minutes each, we were able to get a good snapshot of how Ava and Henry were doing.
Henry’s sixth-grade teachers said he was rather quiet during e-learning and they’d like for him to participate more. His grades, however, were spectacular. We spoke to Henry about participating more throughout the day in all of his classes and he promised he would try to do so.
Ava’s eighth-grade teachers said she was doing fine, with one exception: honors math. Online learning for this level of math proved to be challenging for Ava. She struggled on quizzes and tests and ended up with a low grade. During our conference with Ava’s math teacher, he said she can have an opportunity to retake the quizzes and tests. This would be a lot of extra work for Ava, but she really wanted to raise her grade and do well in math.
Ella’s conference went well. It was reported that she is on target with all of her assignments and participates readily. She pays attention and is engaged in the learning process. She asks good questions and takes charge of her learning.
Ella has expressed that she really wants to return to the school, if only for a few days a week. She misses her peers and teachers. We’ve had to explain to her that it is simply too dangerous for her to expose herself to the possibility of getting sick.
Having SMA would put her at high risk were she to get COVID-19. Her respiratory system is weak, and she would have much trouble combating the disease. We simply cannot take that risk. This also affects Ava and Henry. As much as we’d like for them to return to school, we cannot risk them bringing home germs. The kids are bummed, but they understand.
We’re proud of our kids in terms of their schoolwork. Even though they have things they need to work on, they are dedicated to making the best of an awful situation. Maybe someday it will be safe to return to the buildings they call school, and they can rekindle their friendships with their peers and their relationships with their teachers.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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