FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) – Fargo began online education four weeks ago on April 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondary teacher Jenifer Mastrud says their days continue to be filled with conference calls, video chats, and adapting to new technology.
“We’re working from 6 a.m. to midnight many days, but the biggest thing is we want to connect with these students,” Mastrud said. “We know that this is a really challenging time for them so we are doing everything that we can to do, those check-in connects at elementary, every three days we are rotating through conversations.”
Mastrud says she is able to virtually connect with her students. However, it does present challenges.
“I am a family and consumer science teacher and so I am a completely hands-on classroom, Mastrud said. “My kids get their hands dirty, they are cooking, they are sewing, they are doing budgets and finance. That’s probably been the biggest challenge.”
Although she can’t replicate this hands-on experience, Mastrud says teachers are still virtually offering one-on-one direction as needed, and the focus continues to be on flexibility.
The district also says the teachers who normally provide enrichment or remedial support to students are still active.
“I believe they are getting still the root of what they need,” Mastrud said. “We are really focusing on standards-based grading. Here’s the cool thing, kids are resilient. They are getting what they need and when we meet again this fall, I know teachers are going to meet them where they are at.”
Fargo Superintendent Rupak Gandhi says the school district is still holding its students accountable by tracking attendance and assignment completion. However, they are taking the current circumstances into consideration.
“I think we are doing a great job of providing a quality education under these circumstances,” Dr. Gandhi said. “I don’t think that the education that we are delivering right now should be compared to the education that we would provide prior to March 13. The reason is because the stressors of having a global pandemic and the restrictions that we have across our society, they impact all of us and they impact all of us in a different way.”
Dr. Gandhi says the district continuing to adapt while keeping the students and staff safe.
School officials remind parents, if you have concerns about your child’s education, have a conversation with your teachers about your needs.