Learning from a distance


ROCHELLE – With all K-12 schools in the state closed for the time being, teachers have resorted to alternative means to ensure learning continues from home.

Due to the growing concern surrounding COVID-19, all students in both Rochelle’s elementary and high school districts were sent home on Friday, March 13. Each student was sent home with a packet containing five days of age and grade level appropriate work to do at home.

The packets are printed English on one side, Spanish on the other and are available online for those with internet access. While this is a new experience for everyone involved, the student’s parents have expressed their appreciation for the school’s response of sending the packets home and keeping everyone updated. 

“We have heard feedback from parents that they were appreciative of us sending home five-days’ worth of work in such a short amount of time,” said Jason Harper, elementary and high school district superintendent. “We have also heard positive feedback about us posting additional resources and updates through the district website and Facebook pages as well.” 

The school is offering additional alternative learning options for parents and students through the website and Facebook pages as well. They are encouraging students to take advantage of these resources, so they are still up to speed when school returns.

For the time being, teachers are using alternative means to keep in touch with their students and continue the learning. Teachers with students who have internet access have been utilizing technology to keep them connected.

“I’m checking in with my kids daily on assignments, which they are completing,” said Scott Campbell, science teacher at Rochelle Township High School. “I can also provide them instantaneous support via online platforms and even do video conferences or video lectures if I need to. I think that it is going very well, and I am comfortable learning will continue on pace of we have to extend absence longer.”

The districts are currently scheduled to resume classes Wednesday, April 8. However, administrators are planning to extend closures longer if needed. The response on how learning would move forward will be determined by the length of any future extensions. 

For the time being, the districts continue to encourage parents and students to reach out to their teachers or building administrators for any support they may need. They also plan to continue serving meals out of Rochelle Middle School starting the week of March 30.

The meals are offered as a drive through service for as many kids as the family needs to feed. While these times have brought challenges to many families and teachers, it has shown many of them what can be done when everyone works together. 

“It has brought me a great deal of pride to see my colleagues’ collaboration to provide our best,” said Kimberly Lumzy, fourth grade bilingual teacher at Central Elementary School. “Whether that be a list of websites for parents, a kind post about positivity and patience or thousands of lunches to make sure our students are well-fed. We are doing our best and we know our parents, students and community is too.”