COVID-19 Feature

Tips to keep your student stimulated on hiatus

By Tami Watt, Editor

Homeschooling has become a new reality for many parents as COVID-19 sweeps across Turtle Island and many schools are on hiatus in an effort to flatten the curve of infection. Parents have become teachers overnight and are doing their best to educate and provide a balanced schedule for their entire family.

Melanie Ross (Seneca, Deer Clan, Allegany Territory) is an Instructional Coach at Salamanca City Central School District (SCCSD) with 17 years of teaching experience. Mrs. Ross shared some tips for students to stay stimulated, active, and safe.

Ross advises school age children to stick to a regular agenda or daily routine by creating a family based schedule that suits everyone. “For example, the first week we let the kids create their own schedule that went from 8:00am-4:30pm. This was quite ambitious and we quickly realized it was unrealistic. It caused stress and angst that we didn’t intend, nor did the kids need. It took a little time but, we now have a cohesive schedule that fits US, as I’m working from home as well,” says Ross.

Salamanca City Central School District is offering many services for their Warrior Families. For students in PK-3 all materials were distributed. If they weren’t, the district established pick up times that operated like a drive-thru. If transportation is an issue, they will deliver to you. Grades 4-12 are receiving work via through the Parent/School Portal. Students can interact with their teachers and fellow students, receive and submit assignments, and play fun learning games under the Classlink tab. The school also distributed electronic devices in grades 4-12. Each student has a laptop, if they don’t have internet or wifi, the district accommodated those families in need.

Food is also available at five locations in the community. Each family can receive a breakfast and a lunch for their child/children. The locations are Hoag’s Gas Station, Salamanca Youth Center, Salamanca High School, the Allegany Community Center, and Steamburg Community Center. As of March 30th, the SCCSD handed out 2564 breakfasts and 2564 lunches to the community.

Also don’t forget to use your school liaison as a contact person, they’re there to help! Every Native American family in SCCSD is assigned a home/school liaison to help the needs of their families.

Staying active is also key to a balanced schedule. Exercising has great benefits for the mind, body, and soul. As Ross states, “Get outside DAILY! Regardless of the weather, your body needs movement. Spring is a great time to explore and really enjoy plants and flowers in bloom.”

Practicing safe social distancing while outside is also important. “Play outside in your own area. It doesn’t mean go out and meet up with friends. They’ll understand if you can’t come over at the moment! Fresh air daily and the warmth of the sun will not only make you feel better, it will make your overall well-being better,” says Ross.

Be sure to check out the Seneca Media Facebook page to view some light exercise videos. The Seneca Nation Health Department’s Exercise Specialists’ Andrea Spako and Sheena Moshier host workouts for those at home to follow along with. These videos are now available for elders on DVD or a USB flash drive. Please call Barbara Hill at 716-945-1790 ext. 3921 to make arrangements.

Homeschooling in uncharted territory can make parents and students feel stressed and overwhelmed. If you find yourself struggling with your child, Ross recommends to take a break and reassess. Don’t push or over stimulate. If you are still having trouble after a break, reach out to your child’s teacher for assistance. Many teachers are available during school hours and are willing to help.

The Board of Regents in Albany has determined:

  • Regents Examinations for June 2020 have been cancelled
  • Further guidance will be forthcoming from the Board of Regents (likely 4/7/2020)

Governor indicated schools are closed through April 29, 2020 – Salamanca schools will continue our Continuity of Instruction, Food Service, Childcare and Cleaning plans. All activities will be cancelled in compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order.