Communication Remains Key as Social Distancing Is Extended

As entire communities remain inside on lock-down due to the Covid-19 virus, it is easy to assume that some are facing the situation alone, without the support of friends and family.

That’s why at Florida Prep we are not only continuing with our daily lessons, but we are also paying close attention to both students, and their parents, through numerous other communication channels.

College Guidance Counselor, Katina Long, is speaking regularly with Florida Prep students regarding their college plans, class work and a myriad other things in between. She also recently hosted a virtual AP and Electives workshop for students returning to Florida Prep in the Fall. 

“I speak daily with students, worldwide”, says Long. “Some reach out to me, others, I have on my weekly schedule and a small number are highlighted to me via faculty as either struggling with the Distance Learning process or requiring additional counseling. It is an extremely packed day, that often transitions into the night-time hours.

“I try to schedule meetings with students when its ‘school time’ in their home countries, she continues, “and for some that’s a 12-hour difference to EST. It’s important they feel they are in the ‘Guidance Department’ and scheduling a meeting that begins for them at a late evening hour really doesn’t translate, so my schedule must change to accommodate them. 

“The overwhelming feedback I’m receiving is a desire to return to normality, to return to school,” continues Long. “They miss their friends and the daily schedule of school life. Some are isolated and feel lonely.”

To combat that feeling of isolation, Florida Prep continues to meet weekly with the student Leadership Group and encourages members to reach out to other students and to virtually ‘check-in’.

Our faculty also allow time prior to beginning their lessons for students to join the classroom early to chat, touch base and generally let off some steam before the business of learning begins.

“As the shut-down has extended” says Florida Prep Principal Lisa Gray “We have become more aware of the students need to communicate with their peers. They are unlikely to set up a Zoom meeting personally, but when the classroom opens, they love the interaction of being together again”. 

She continues “This generation of students has access to a huge number of on-line resource and often live in a virtual world for hours, communicating by video and online devices, but personal human interaction is something they also crave and that’s impossible to duplicate online. 

“Although we are also working in the virtual world, we try to provide as much interaction as possible during the classroom hours so that our students can regroup and connect several times a week. 

“In fact,” she continues “we are fortunate that we entered this process towards the end of the school year when our team had not only developed strong links with our students, but also with many of their parents. It has enabled us to follow an incredibly open communication plan and to deal with issues very quickly either through our daily faculty meeting or by flagging it to Mrs. Long or myself for further action.

“Our goal is to finish the year strong with every student graduating and no one left behind. The situation has brought us all together in ways we never could have imagined, rather like a real family”, concluded Gray.