MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Normalcy and routines are imperative when teaching students with special needs. Of course, the coronavirus outbreak has interrupted that.
Shelby County School teachers and administrators are keen on keeping that in-school structure that is now at home.
"We miss our students. We really do. We all do," said Shelby County Schools Special Education staff.
No isolation is wide enough to keep Shelby County School's special education staff away.
"We have tried to provide the same framework that would be in school by providing ways to still support their children through sensory, through visual - whether that's schedules," said Anne Archer, SCS Special Education Adviser, Division of Exceptional Children.
Staff have been using the internet to create cartoons, visual lessons, and music therapy.
"Also, as far as the routines and schedules that we put in place, they are essential with our children in making sure that their time is structured in such a way - not so much just with academics, but with down time," said Lynette Long, SCS Special Education teacher.
Staff members know that not everyone has the internet, so they also FaceTime students and parents.
"It's cute to see the students try to touch my face like I'm actually there. The parents have told me there have been, that has really calmed their child down just to see my face on FaceTime," said Beverly Pitts, SCS Special Education teacher.
"We've been helping parents learn what to do with their students because sometimes they are stuck. A lot of times, our students with special needs, the negative behavior they show is a communication issue. They're not able to tell us what they're wanting or not being able to be understood," said Jennifer Wyatt, Behavior Consultant.
"It has been phenomenal how they are so appreciative of us," said Pitts.
It is an appreciation that no quarantine can contain.
"In this time of social distancing, I think the one spirit that we've all tried to advocate for is, still feeling connected rather than isolated," said Archer.
Coronavirus in Context:
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.