(WUTR-TV) — No one could have predicted the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives. It changed how we do everything. For educators, they had to quickly adjust to distance learning and try to keep their students and teachers up to speed with the workload. 

“One of the things that happens when you move to a remote system of learning is you lose that capacity to actually be observing instruction and observing your administrative team, observing your staff doing their job and really getting a sense from being in it, how things are going. So, that really was difficult.” – Robert Miller, Superintendent, Herkimer Central School District

School faculty members had to figure out the best way to reach their students and make sure that they don’t fall behind. 

“We did have concerns with some students who didn’t have internet access or limited internet access, you know based on the speed. Whether it was dial up or not. Everyone had the ability through Herkimer BOCES, they made it an option, if they didn’t have a computer they could come to the school and get one.” – John, Martin, Building Construction Instructor, Herkimer BOCES

“Some of my students have four or five other siblings and even if they have technology in their house they might only have access to the computer for a short amount of time to complete their work. I would say, initially getting the work to them and figuring that out and then trying to find the means to motivate these students.” – Alex Gilmore, Teacher, Pathways Academy

But, what started off as a challenge, ended up becoming a strength. 

“The parents became therapy partners. Parents became educational partners, which was a tremendous challenge and the teachers found a way to do it and the therapists found a way to do it. So it’s really been remarkable in that regard.” – Sandy Sherwood, District Superintendent, Herkimer BOCES

Schools are waiting on more guidelines from the state on reopening in the fall. Then, they will create a plan on how they would make a long-term absence from the classroom work. 

“On our new questionnaire for incoming students we have an indication of, do you have internet access? Is it high speed? Do you have a computing device accessible to you at home? So that hopefully, we won’t be caught in a situation where we’re like, wIll Johnny hasn’t returned his homework. Well, Johnny doesn’t have the internet. We’ll know that upfront.” –  Zane Mahar, Technical Education Principal, Herkimer BOCES 

“I think we really have to be cognizant and sensitive to the needs of the parents and the needs of the kids when we come around to next September.” – Patrick Corrigan, Principal, Pathways Academy