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School in the Time of a Pandemic

Things are different this year…

sanitize hands students 2020 coronavirus pandemic

Students using hand sanitizer before each class.

It’s two weeks into the 2020 school year at Maharishi School and the students are just starting to settle into

their new way of learning in a pandemic. For some that means social distancing and wearing a mask inside the classroom with their peers, for others that means staying home and logging into Zoom on the computer.

We currently have 72% of our student population in person, who get their temperature taken each day, sanitize their hands before stepping into the classroom and wear masks while inside the building.

How do the kids feel?

indie in school learning kindergarten during pandemic

Indie Picard

I’ve gotten feedback from several parents and students about what they’re going through with this new hybrid learning. Emmy Auge is the mother of Indira Picard, a 5 year old who just started Kindergarten and is doing in-class learning.

 “Indie is doing better with her mask than I anticipated, she’s definitely understanding the safety precautions of wearing it. Her class size is so small that it seems less scary for her than if she was in a class of 20 or 30 kids. I’m happy with her being in school because I know she missed the stimulation and routine of school. Seeing her friends, even if it’s from a distance, is so beneficial for her happiness.”

Lily Fenton is 16 years old, in 11th grade and participating in both in-class and online learning, here she talks about these changes;

lily in school and online learning during pandemic

Lily Fenton

    “I’m doing well with in school learning, although it is weird having half of my class online. I like having a schedule and a place where I can have face-to-face connections. Before coming to school in-person, I thought that online school was my preference, however, I have found that I am more productive when I have the feeling of physically going somewhere. Additionally, during our first days of school, I thought that the masks and new protocols were hard to deal with because it was something I was not used to. Now, the masks and protocols have reached normalcy and have integrated well into my day to day life.”

 

What’s it like learning online?

Natalie Kahiu is 9 years old in 4th grade and her mother Mala Markowitz talks about how she’s currently doing with online learning;

      “Natalie wakes up enthusiastic and eager to learn remotely from the comfort and ease of home. She loves to go outside in her new

natalie online learningneighborhood during recess or writing to reflect on the world around her. She likes to draw and write about what she sees. So much to learn! She loves remote learning. Her next big adventure is global learning where she gets to travel in an RV and move around from state to state learning about different cultures, food and people. She wants to study anthropology in college and she wants to be an anthropologist when she grows up.”

Return to learning during a pandemic

At Maharishi School we believe that in-person schooling is the priority for the holistic health and development of our students. In-person education allows greater social-emotional experience with peers and teachers, more hands on learning, and more easily facilitated group projects.

We are still accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Our Admissions Team is available to connect and we encourage you to reach out to us at admissions@maharishischool.org

To learn more about how Maharishi School has responded to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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NY Times Article: The 2020 Back-to-School List for Teens’ Emotional Well-Being

Forget backpacks and binders. Here are the essentials teenagers will need for the strange school year ahead.

By Lisa Damour

In a sea of Covid-19 confusion, this seems certain: The pandemic will disrupt school this fall. Attending school part-time, sporadically as viral outbreaks allow, or completely remotely may make excellent medical sense. But learning from home, or being constrained by in-school safety protocols, will reduce students’ exposure to the ordinary magic — the woven-in forces that promote healthy adolescent development — that happens at school.

Can parents help compensate for what will necessarily be lost? Yes. Forget the backpacks and binders. Here are the essential supplies teenagers will need for the strange school year ahead.

The healthy adolescent trajectory toward independence involves loosening emotional ties to parents and strengthening ties to peers. This critical transition almost certainly happens best when teenagers can get together in person. While communication technology has been a welcome asset for many adolescents since the pandemic began, a recent survey found that 61 percent of teenagers reported feeling more lonely as a result of the pandemic.

Given that adolescents cannot, at present, count on hanging out with peers during the school day, we should make sure that they still have ways to see their friends. Unfortunately, teenagers often fail to observe social distancing guidelines, even if they start off with the best of intentions. They may need supervision or specific guidance, such as having them meet outdoors or go on bike rides with friends — wearing masks when appropriate.

When teenagers bristle at our rules for socializing, as they understandably will, we can explain that we are not trying to be at odds with them. Rather, we are on their side against the shared enemy of Covid-19. As such, we can also invite and take seriously teenagers’ suggestions about how they might visit with their peers while keeping themselves and others healthy.

Teenagers benefit from spending time with adults who aren’t their parents; it’s not easy to establish independence and take guidance from one’s folks at the very same time. Thankfully, adolescents will accept the same advice from a mentor or boss that they would reflexively rebuff from their parents. And though they can be quick to dismiss praise from their parents on the grounds that we cannot possibly be objective, they’ll take to heart compliments from teachers, coaches and advisers.

But many adults who work in schools are already expressing concern about their ability to make meaningful connections with students online or in classrooms where everyone is wearing a mask and contending with safety rules. So we should look for ways to help teenagers put caring adults in their traffic patterns if they have to miss out on in-person time with the grown-ups they usually see at school.

Now, more than ever, raising children may take a village. Include your teenagers when finding socially distanced ways to spend time with adults they like. Barter mentoring with your friends: Offer to engage their teenager around a shared interest and see if they can do the same for yours. If your adolescent can safely hold a job, volunteer in the community or be active at your place of worship under the watchful eye of a trustworthy adult, help make that happen.

Routines are the best way to ensure that critical needs get met. They are good for everyone, including teenagers. A reliable daily schedule with designated time for learning, leisure, physical activity and sleep promotes overall well-being and reduces the stress of making plans on the fly. Under normal conditions, going to school forces students into routines that usually keep them busy, growing and active. In contrast, during the unstructured time of weekends and summers young people are more likely to use screens, be sedentary, eat poorly and fall into irregular sleep patterns.