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EASTCONN’s Coronavirus Response: Highlights, as Our Work Continues…

 

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EASTCONN staff is working hard to respond effectively to the region’s pandemic-related challenges. Teaching, learning and collaborating from home has become part of daily life as we continue to support the students, families and educators that we serve. Below is a brief summary – and by no means a complete list – of the many ways that our work continues: 

Adult and Community Education – Our teaching, employment and support staff are keeping EASTCONN-region adult students on track, using new protocols and strategies, including teacher-led online learning, social media, phone calls, texts and emails. Staff are providing a variety of high school completion and ESL classes, while American Job Center staff and case managers work from home to assist current enrollees, as well as the job-seeking public and people who need help with unemployment claims. In-School and Out-of-School Youth teams continue to provide direct services to younger students.

Business Office – Staff continue to offer and/or provide remote, back-office support for districts. 

Early Childhood Initiatives – Head Start and Birth to Three staff are providing direct, ongoing, virtual services and home visits to children and families, using a variety of online platforms to keep children’s education moving forward. Staff share educational resources and videos of themselves singing songs, reading books, doing experiments and simply talking. Teachers are available to parents/families at any time, if they have questions, need help, or just want to talk. Family Advocates work with center-based families and teachers to assess their need for items like clothing, food, diapers and medical care, etc. Other professional staff continue to work with RESC Alliance and state partners to deliver free PD online to early childhood educators. 

Facilities – Staff oversaw the professional deep-cleaning of all EASTCONN facilities. They follow health and safety protocols as they continue to provide regular maintenance at all sites.

Food Services – Staff prepare and distribute thousands of nutritious meals weekly to hundreds of at-home youngsters and their siblings, who might otherwise go hungry during school closings. Three days a week, staff distribute nutritious meals to families in 8 northeastern Connecticut towns, where EASTCONN oversees student breakfast/lunch programs.

K-12 Schools – This group is delivering teacher-led, online K-12 classes that incorporate core curriculum, materials and activities. Using secure portals, classroom instruction is delivered to K-12 schools, including special education students, using established teaching strategies and best practices. Psychological and Behavioral Consultation professionals are in constant communication with staff, as well as students and EASTCONN-region schools, to ensure that they receive needed supports. Related Services continues to provide virtual, direct services to students, so that learning remains accessible for students with special needs. EASTCONN school nurses are also providing support to families.

Leading & Learning – Working with EASTCONN school administrators, teachers, Technology, Website and Communications staff, as well as with other education partners, this group has written, organized and delivered an impressive collection of high-quality, online lessons for K-12 students: https://www.eastconn.org/continuouslearning.

Collaborations with RESC Alliance and CSDE partners have resulted in free, online learning options: http://www.rescalliance.org/covid19/ for schools across Connecticut. Our professional staff are providing free webinars for any educator who wants to continue his/her professional learning: https://www.eastconn.org/lltrainingcalendar.

Technology Solutions – This group quickly mobilized to program and deliver dozens of Chromebooks to EASTCONN students who lacked computers at home. They also arranged for free student Wi-Fi “hot spots,” and initiated new, distance-learning technical support strategies and provisions for students and EASTCONN teaching staff. Technology staff also continue to provide agency-wide technical support, including online cyber-security trainings to forestall cyber-attacks, for all EASTCONN staff working from home.

Transportation – Staff have thoroughly cleaned and sanitized all 100+ vans and buses, in preparation for students’ return to school.

Learn more: Contact Communications Director Teddie Sleight at tsleight@eastconn.org