As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches past the eighth-month mark, many of Maine’s students, educators and parents continue striving for academic achievement absent the benefits of in-person instruction and faced with internet connectivity issues and other logistical challenges.
“Educators are creating dynamic lessons, parents are providing important structure and support in homes, and students are working diligently to connect with their teachers and peers during remote learning,” Jason Judd, Ed.D., executive director of Educate Maine in Portland, told The Center Square by email. “Many families have limited or unreliable access to broadband to support remote learning. Maine needs to make a larger investment in broadband to help every student access their education safely.”
Lack of day care options also tops the list of challenges amid the pandemic.
“Maine families are struggling to find high-quality childcare in order to provide support for their children and balance their needs to work,” Judd said. “Maine needs to provide greater support for childcare providers and provide aid to help families afford childcare.”
As the pandemic wears on, maintaining social connections is imperative for the physical and emotional well-being of children and teens.
“We need to make sure students are healthy and safe. We need to make sure students continue to engage with their teachers and their peers,” Judd said. “We need to support the social and emotional needs of students through strong support at schools. Our concern is for students who are not engaged in school (either remotely or in-person) during the pandemic.”
The Maine public advocate has been working to find solutions for families throughout the state facing internet connection issues.
“Teachers are working diligently to meet the needs of their students and communicating frequently with families to help students thrive during the pandemic. We are stronger by working together and encouraging strong partnerships between schools, families, and communities.”