Fayetteville, N.C. — Tom Hatch is principal at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville. He produced a video to put a smile on the faces of the nearly 1,200 students who are now learning from home.
“Our teachers are also having to figure out new ways of teaching. Virtual learning is really an instructional tool, but it’s not the end-all. It’s kind of like they’ve been given a hammer and told to build a house,” said Hatch.
And while that house continues to be built by teachers and students through distance learning, educators are trying to figure out what the new normal will look like when students return to class.
“We are entering into a time where there is going to be more diligence in cleaning our classrooms — wiping down multi-touch surfaces. Maybe looking at ways to get kids to and from their classrooms, so that the hallways are not so crowded,” Hatch said.
Hatch says the stay at home policy has generated some thinking outside the box. For example, a science teacher virtually taught students about using 3-D printers at his school to make face masks for Fayetteville police.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson has put together a task force to design a school reopening plan.
Hatch hopes it addresses class size, scheduling and a return to athletic competition.
“I think now’s the opportunity to let’s really look at how. How can we restructure what’s happening in our classrooms and do this as it just may become the new norm,” said Hatch.
Dr. Marvin Connelly, the superintendent in Cumberland County, has been appointed to the task force that is designed to come up with what the schools will look like when they reopen later this year.