FEA offers parents tips and what to expect in the fall

By Jodi Yonder
Special to the Outlook

The value of public schools has never been felt more acutely than after the coronavirus pandemic forced classrooms to close and sent our kids to learn from home.

The impact on communities unfolded as many parents were laid off, while those still working had no childcare. The lives of millions of Floridians were upended.  And on another level Floridians were reminded that some children received their only meals of the day in their school cafeteria. The dilemma brought new appreciation of the hundreds of thousands of Florida teachers responsible for educating more than 3 million students.

The Florida Education Association (FEA) has been evaluating a host of strategies for opening schools in the fall. There are priorities set in that process according to FEA President Fedrick Ingram. 

Dr. Lauren Thornton has suggested several tips for families to make it through the pandemic.
Photo special to the Outlook

“The safety of our students, teachers and staff has never been more important,” said Ingram. “That always comes first. Combine that with teaching differently while maintaining standards is a challenging task.” 

He added that the classroom environment will take on a new look.  Some of the reopening strategies could include:

Students with limited digital access could attend class three days a week and spend two learning at home

Social distancing would be used, and lunch could be served at desks

Constant hand washing and wiping down of common areas

Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, has predicted that students will see major adjustments when they resume classes.
Photo special to the Outlook

There could be split sessions at school and home

And older and at risk-teachers could be providing instruction from home.

There will be no more crowded cafeterias, playgrounds, gymnasiums or buses for a while. But health experts say the bigger problem is among families of color, who are twice as likely to die from complications of the virus combined with other preexisting conditions. African Americans top the list of people dying at alarming rates.  This frightening analysis offers an opportunity for families to engage in activities that help fight the virus and encourage new healthy habits.  

“Exercise and eating right is the enemy of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  African Americans suffer from these health issues above all ethnic groups.  Exercise and diet provide a natural weapon against these deadly diseases,” said to Dr. Lauren Thornton, who also suggests a few easy activities to engage children and improve an individual’s health.

Her tips include family walks for 30 minutes three times a week allow for conversation without cell phones and other distractions, give the body and mid-section a workout and take off pounds, especially when more time is added.

She also suggested making healthier meals — less starch, more vegetables, fish, chicken more often, and fruits.

Additionally, she said let your children make simple meals for lunch and dinner to emphasize the importance of good health and helping the family. 

That’s in addition to cutting back on sodas and drinking more water.

It’s worth the effort.  For more help during this difficult time go to facebook.comgoodneighborhoodpublicschools.sfl