Teachers in Cumberland County are feeling the impact of COVID-19, as their classroom curriculums have been halted during one of the most important periods of the school year.
Students are urged by the school system to stay active and engaged in academic content during the hiatus from school, though no homework can actually be assigned per Cumberland County Schools.
“I’m really worried about the screen time that they’re going to have instead of being in books,” said Toni LaRue-Garrett, seventh-grade English language arts teacher at North Cumberland Elementary. “The biggest impact is that I’m worried about the students is that they are going to have too much electronic or television time and is going to get them out of the routine of learning,” she said.
LaRue-Garrett taught kindergarten through third grade for 17 years and says it’s extremely important for younger students to “stay in the text and that they’re reading because you read to learn.
“It will definitely affect students to be out of school over an extended time with their stability and, I think, comprehension because they’re going to get lax on the things they are doing, and it’s going to create a little bit of backlash … It can really affect them unless somebody is consistently having them to read.”
How much time per day should children be engaged in educational activity? LaRue-Garrett’s suggestion mirrors a normal school day.
“To at least — and they’ll think I’m crazy — after-school hours,” she said. “From 8 to 3, don’t let them be on something unless it pertains to school.”
Staci Smith, a chemistry and ACT prep teacher at Cumberland County High School, has concerns for upper-level high school classes.
“So much of what we do builds on what we’ve already covered,” Smith said. “It’s hard enough to pull them off after spring break, so having this amount of time with no assignments, they may forget everything.”