Social distancing in light of the coronavirus has prompted people around the country to creatively concoct new ways of forging and nurturing human-to-human interactions, and perhaps no tool has proved as vital in these efforts as the internet – but many students and even some teachers don’t have access to this crucial tool.
Teachers in particular are relying on the internet to educate and support their students like never before, and some – like Michele Busey, a biology teacher in Saranc, NY, and her colleagues – are making extra efforts to reach those without access.
“I’m responsible for 77 students, and about a dozen of them don’t have internet access at home,” she says. “Some of our teachers don’t have internet service. I know teachers who drive to parking lots outside buildings with Wi-Fi where they sit in their cars and do their work. And I’ve heard about parents who are driving their kids to parking lots to connect to Wi-Fi to do their homework — all the while with their cars running.”
Michele worries, too, about how the economy will recover once the pandemic has ended: where will the needed public funding for schools be found, and will teachers face layoffs, leading to an increased student to teacher ratio across classes?
But “[e]ven with all my worries,” she says, “I think good will come from this. I believe we will be better bonded to our communities because of this, whenever we come out the other side.”
Read more about Michele and what she and other teachers are doing to support students during the coronavirus here.