A social distance exchange between Big Lake elementary school staff and students has been documented in a six-minute video.
Principal Holly Zurak told the Tribune that she created the video from photographs and videos she made during the drive by on Monday, April 6, on her phone.
“We talked with all the students before so they were expecting us, which is why they made signs.”
Zurak was the only one who got off and on the bus where the staff made sure to sit apart.
She handed out plastic tubs with assignments for each of the 30 students, using hand sanitizer before and after each delivery.
School work will be a ‘blended approach’ of paper-based materials and some digital as long as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps students at home.
“Most have internet access, but there are some great equity discrepancies in our community between who has devices and most people even if they have internet don’t have really good internet. Internet is an issue out here.”
As the school is K-5, most of the students don’t have independent technology skills yet, she added.
“It would look really different if we were a middle school and our students were more tech savvy.”
Big Lake elementary is designated as a wild school so during the pandemic students will encouraged to participate in a wild school challenge every week.
“The students will have to play outside, but beyond the playing, we want them to be engaging with education right in their own back yards because that is so important to us. Our rural kids are so lucky because they have big play spaces.”
Describing how quiet the school is without the students, Zurak said it is a “little spooky and too quiet.”
“I think we are a lucky team because we all get along so well and we’ve got big laughs and voices and we’re getting through it together, but we definitely miss the kids.”
She said the school is lucky it only has 20 families to connect with.
“It is definitely more of a challenge at other schools.”