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Students Need Stable Schools

BYU-Idaho Radio · An Interview with IEA Region 6 President Melanie Hammond

All of us have been students at one point in our lives, and many of us have built many relationships that last a lifetime with classmates and teachers. But today’s students have been isolated from their peers and teachers for two months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many feeling lonely and isolated.

This critical issue to address led the Idaho Education Association to send out a letter entitled, “Students Need Stable Schools.” IEA sent out the letter to school district leaders all over Idaho, and 60 have signed so far.

The letter asks the school district in question to do all they can help their students emotionally when they tentatively return to in-person classes this coming fall.

Melanie Hammond, a teacher at Madison Middle School and the president of Region 6 of IEA, said the letter addresses a critical need to help these students with their social and emotional health.

“We really need to be looking at that social/emotional tie with our students, and how can we help them make sense of this world that we are now living in,” Hammond said.

Hammond said as she participates in Microsoft Zoom meetings with her students at Madison Middle School, she said she can see the sadness in their eyes.

Hammond also said the distance is taking a toll on teachers as well.

“We miss our students, it's quite an experience to come to an empty classroom,” Hammond said tearfully. “It's great that we get to see them [over Zoom], but we'd much rather have them in our classrooms.”

Local officials hope to have students in school come Fall, but some health experts fear a second wave of coronavirus infections, which could jeopardize that goal.

Hopefully, students will be able to return to the classroom and heal from the isolated conditions this pandemic has put us through.