Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Labor and Industry
Safety and Health Codes Board
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6/17/20  6:27 pm
Commenter: Elaine Simonsen, teacher in VA

Virtual school

Good morning!  I would like to take this time to share my situation. I am a teacher with FCPS and a mother of 5 children that attend FCPS schools. I currently teach 5th grade and my children are in grades (rising) 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10th. I will need the option of pupil placing my children in order to continue teaching. I have a masters in education from Marymount University and am pursuing a second masters in Blended and Online Learning in Schools from George Mason University. I have a son (my 4th grader) who has a genetic deletion on his 4th chromosome and requires special ed services in school. This also means that he is immunocompromised and extremely prone to respiratory illnesses due to having Pierre Robin sequence. I had an amazing experience teaching virtually this spring after all the connection kinks were worked out. I had a consistently large, engaged group of students and was able to maintain a safe social community at the same time. I feel that my own children thrived in distance learning and it even encouraged self-guided research in my older daughters. 

This all being said, I am very concerned about starting back with any sort of face to face schooling in the fall. Having just come out of a virtual learning classroom moving into a harsh, socially distant (impossible to do for kids, by the way) rule following “for the health of all” environment will most certainly be anxiety producing and not conducive to anything beneficial being taught and/or learned. I truly believe having as much synchronous online learning as we can is the right choice at this point in time. Face to face does not mean better education in this situation. And I believe that it may mean the opposite, even. I know the benefits of blended and online learning and have even sent multiple emails offering my assistance in curriculum and norms development, but have not  been offered any opportunities. I signed up for many FCPS offered opportunity groups to develop curriculum this summer and was not chosen for any of them. 

Thank you for hearing me, and working towards the best option for education in the fall. I appreciate all that you all do for us (parents, kids, and teachers). 

CommentID: 80347