Greetings to everyone in NEOEA; I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and well. COVID-19 has impacted many of us in so many ways. I have had opportunities to see many of you in virtual meetings, but I do miss going to events where I get to see many of you in person and share stories and a good laugh or two.
“Lock downs” across the country have deemed most of us as non-essential workers. Well, I don’t believe our parents or our students would agree! I think when this is all over more people than ever will be convinced of how essential our public schools really are. I believe that virtual online schools, that have funneled millions of dollars away from our public schools, will ultimately suffer. I believe our educators, our students, and our parents are realizing that the human component of education is essential. The love, the caring, the heartfelt desire to help our students thrive does not come through on an electronic device. The presence of an educator who can motivate and nurture a student to achieve is invaluable. What happens in our classrooms, on our buses, and in our cafeterias cannot be replicated by a video from Khan Academy, no matter how well done!
Historically people have asked a similar question around major tragedies. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the 9-11 attacks began? Will people of our generation ask: Where were you during the pandemic of 2020? For many of us that answer is simple…we were at HOME (going stir crazy!). People talk about the heroes at a time like this. Police, fire, food service, doctors, nurses… and so many more are selflessly working even while putting themselves and ultimately their families at risk. I hope all of us take the time to think about our Education Support Professionals who are clearly heroes as well. While most of our teachers are navigating what it means to implement “distance learning” from their couch or home office, many of our ESPs are still going to their work site every day.
Many of our bus drivers, cafeteria staff, custodial staff, and secretarial staff have been asked to keep reporting to work sites, many of them without any personal protective equipment. Many ESPs are being asked to prepare food, make deliveries, and to clean, clean, and clean again. We have no idea how long we will need to practice social distancing, so many of our colleagues are working to provide a safe environment for all of us when we do ultimately return to the new normal.
We know teachers are dedicating massive amounts of personal time in order to help their students. Most of us are trying to navigate a new vocabulary of words that we have never used before. Things like self-quarantine, social distancing, PPE’s, and distance learning are now words we hear almost daily by watching the news and Governor DeWine’s daily 2:00 p.m. briefings. Hopefully many of our students will be inspired by Dr. Amy Acton and her calm demeanor but passionate knowledge. I am sure she had no idea that she would become a household name! These are not ideal times, but the work of the nearly 30,000 members of the NEOEA will be instrumental to many of our students successfully overcoming these current challenges. I hope each and every one of you stay safe, and, on behalf of NEOEA, I thank all of you for your dedication and professionalism! THANK YOU!
United we are stronger,
Published in our Summer Issue 2020 of News & Views.