California Educator

June/July 2020

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Page 27 of 63

DINA GRIFFIN SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST, Evergreen Teachers Association Describe your job in the age of COVID-19 in one word: Eye-opening. What's a "typical" day for you in the new learning environment? My typical distance learning day is a mix of video meetings with parents, co-workers and students, and paperwork. I write IEPs (individualized education programs) and reports, review files, respond to independent student work, provide feedback to par- ents, check emails, and create lesson plans. It just happens to take place in my house all online, so it's been challenging! What kind of challenges does this pose for you and fellow SLPs? My speech therapy sessions with students were always dynamic — on the floor playing with toys, doing movement activities, working at tables with fun materials. Now, I spend work hours in front of the laptop, which can be very draining. The biggest challenge has been using technology as the vehicle of service delivery. I've been successful at getting team members and par- ents connected, but scheduling virtual meetings is difficult. Although my district has provided devices for those in need, distance learning is still not equitable. Lack of technology skills, different home languages, child care challenges and shared devices within a household present many challenges. Technol- ogy glitches, lag time, and unstable connections disrupt the natural flow of communication that we would have in person. Children are flexible and adaptable, but when developing com- munication skills virtually, the nuances of communication, such as nonverbal gestures, are lost on the screen. What should colleagues to know about life right now for SLPs? Navigating the legality of implementing a student's IEP in this new distance learning model has been tricky. As we learned about the ever-changing state and county directives for our dis- trict, our specialists continued to have weekly virtual meetings to discuss how to meet the needs of our students. Many of us went into the field with the idea of hands-on ther- apy and being in person with our students. My colleagues and I SARAH NIELSEN BOYD SCHOOL NURSE, Oakland Education Association Describe your job in the age of COVID-19 in one word: Lonely. What's a "typical" day for you in the new learning environment? I check my email first thing. There are so many emails each day. I answer emails, attend virtual meetings, and contact families to check in on kids who have complicated health conditions or need virtual health assessments for an IEP. I have been working on the huge list of kids who are missing immunizations and trying to find missing shots in the California Immunization Registry. I meet/chat/ email with colleagues to discuss the challenges and successes of various tactics in this new work world. We share resources that we can offer families and share webinars/articles related to COVID. What kind of challenges does this pose for you and fellow school nurses? A lot of the work that I do during a regular school day is computer work. But I also see many kids and talk with staff, so the biggest difference and also challenge is not interacting with human beings on a daily basis. Hands-on nursing involves actually being with a person: feeling the tem- perature of their skin, looking at their facial expressions, talking privately, and examining whatever body part needs to be examined. All of these " Children are adaptable, but when developing communication skills virtually, nuances such as nonverbal gestures are lost on the screen." Continued on page 28 26 feature C O V I D - 1 9

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