By the time you read this, the July that was right around the corner is already here, along with stunningly high heat and humidity. Summers are usually crunch time for the Collier County Public Schools custodial, maintenance, curriculum developers, technology teams, planning, facility repairs and replacements, to name a few. Not that they aren’t working year-round, but there are a multitude of work orders to complete in a short amount of time during the summer months when the schools are closed, projects that would interfere with the students’ learning.
However, with the closing of schools in March, most of these teams will have a jump start on completing their projects. This could be one of the positives as a result of COVID-19. The custodial staff and facility manager at Tommie Barfield Elementary have been busy emptying classrooms, deep cleaning and rearranging furniture to comply with the state guidelines for reopening schools. Since the guidelines are in a state of flux, the answers are too.
So, what’s happening around Marco Island and in many of the other CCPS schools? Roofs, air-conditioners, playgrounds and replacement of equipment, refrigerators that need to be replaced, sidewalks, and effort—take all the returned computers used by students from March to June, re-image them, sanitize and have them ready to be redistributed to students at the beginning of the 2020–2021 school year. Whew...
There were about 15,000 computers originally distributed to students so they could participate in online learning once schools closed from classroom learning to offsite computer learning. With even more computers on order, each student will be assigned a computer to use for the next school year. Elementary students will keep theirs at school and take them home for research assignments prepared by their teachers.
Thank goodness for the amazing efforts of our teachers who had to make the leap from in-person learning to “screen” learning without enough preparation time to prepare effectively, but still plunged in whole-heartedly to keep their students learning. The great thing about teachers is that they sincerely care about their students and their progress and they are willing to jump through hoops to make sure their charges are engaged, learning and obtaining the skills for their levels. Although the loving, direct student contact was missing, teachers made up for it through creativity and perseverance.
Our administrators were also on top of the challenges presented during the virus. They connected, virtually of course, with their teachers, staff and families to be sure everyone was connected and “in the loop” of the planned events and future tentative events as decisions evolved.
One of the events held on June 26th was the “Do the Right Thing Awards” that honors students through a partnership between CCPS and the Collier County Sheriff’s Department. Students are recognized for their integrity, initiative and honor as they demonstrate their positive initiative to “Do the Right Thing.” These students are always something special in that they model the attributes that all members of society should follow. Students were honored from afar in front of their residences with their families in attendance.
Upcoming, tentative plans are for actual graduations on July 23rd at each of the high school athletic fields. It seems like most things these days are tentative, especially with the rising numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida. Maybe another positive that’s come from the sequestering and uncertainty is developing flexibility. We really don’t have a choice.