Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday I wrote about the flu starting to sweep through our school. By the 3:08 bell, it had made its way through enough students to bring our school to close for the remainder of the week. While 3 days off is enjoyable in some ways, I worry about many things with this closure.

Of course, the most obvious is the well-being of students and staff who become ill. While the H1N1 flu seems to be not as serious as once thought, it has the potential to take young lives. On a personal note, I worry about my own 6 month old granddaughter. With me bringing home germs from students at school I am in constant contact with, I fear she is exposed to more than her share of germies.

Another facet of worry is how will we continue to meet the needs of students who are gone for extended periods of time. Retention of material taught is always a concern but with large unplanned gaps such as this, I know my students will struggle picking up where we left off without some back tracking. It isn't so much that I mind the review of skills and material as it all becomes a time game.

With President Obama's decree of the flu being a national emergency, speculation over whether or not we will have to make up time missed is still being bounced around. We have 30 hours built in for snowdays so assuming these 3 days are all we miss, with minimal true snow days, we will still meet our annual attendance requirements. That all seems unlikely with this wave of flu hitting so early, and the weather service predicted a wetter than average winter.

If we make the days up, covering the material is simple in theory. However, if we do not make the days up, we will be forced to choose between not covering as much material or zooming through it quicker to get to everything in the time span alloted. Neither is a perfect solution. I find it difficult to adequately cover everything as it is! Given the choice between depth and breadth of curriculum, I always choose depth, even at the risk of not getting to everything.

Monday will find us back in the classroom, hopefully. Sniffling, coughing, sneezing students all grouped back together, sharing germs, waiting for the next tsunami of illness to hit shore!

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