Distance learning in full swing for students across Fargo-Moorhead
Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead school officials discuss how teachers are utilizing technology to connect with their students
FARGO, N.D. — When Minnesota and North Dakota officials decided to close schools due to the Coronavirus, educators across the metro scrambled to put together a plan of how to move forward.
“The last two weeks have not been easy, but they have been a very meaningful learning opportunity for all of our staff, and that’s teaching through our instructional delivery model and find a way to provide a meaningful experience for all of our students,” says Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Rupak Gandhi.
Teachers have found a way to do that through tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Moodle to connect with their students virtually.
School administrators stress this learning model isn’t meant to replace the teaching that would occur in a traditional classroom setting.
“There’s always going to be variables such as technology, making sure that all the students have access, but also knowing that we’re currently working under the stressors of being under a global pandemic,” says Ghandi.
Because of these factors, administrators and teachers are much more flexible with things like assignments and attendance.
“This allows for families and teachers to have school at times that work for them and their busy schedules. Attendance is taken by documenting engagement and completion of projects and assignments,” says West Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Beth Slette. “We are not taking attendance by showing up at specific certain times, so our schedule is very flexible and accommodating.”
Educators say that flexibility also accounts for the emotional and social well-being of the students, which are critical at a time of so much uncertainty.
“I bring it back to West Fargo Public Schools’ mission, which is to prepare students for tomorrow’s world,” says Slette. “Our world has literally changed overnight, but I want to assure our community that our mission has not and is more applicable now than ever.”
North Dakota Public Schools are to remain closed until further notice.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says there is a strong possibility in-person classes will be canceled for the rest of the school year.