March 21, 2020 | IFA Staff
An entire nation of schools is transitioning to online/distance learning in the space of a few weeks. This transition is difficult for teachers, administrators, staff, and students. Intercessors for America reached out to a couple of public school teachers and a parent liason to ask how we can be praying effectively at this time.
Dorie Nealon, second grade teacher, South Carolina:
How did the transition to school closing go?
We had almost all 1,100 students parents pick up chrome books, chargers and materials in one day. It was pretty amazing. It had to be done outside through car windows. Only a few students did not get their stuff.
How can intercessors be praying about our schools?
- That teachers can navigate distance learning. There is a learning curve for teaching this way.
- That we can support students and parents and have compassion for one another.
- For students who feel anxious because their normal routine is disrupted, that they would find God’s peace.
- For students who are isolated and lonely at home.
- That this would not last for any longer than necessary.
James de Blank, Intervention Specialist, Ohio:
Tell us about the challenges at your school:
I teach at a Title I school (Title I is a federal program providing financial assistance to schools with a high number of low-income families), so my students have serious and various needs. I have students who live in trailers with no heat or air conditioning; students whose only meal was the school lunch,; students who have abusive parents and now have to face their full unbridled wrath. Our families include many with parents who needed the school as a babysitting service since they can’t afford one–having the students home creates a childcare and financial crisis in those situations.
In many homes, children do not receive adequate care. So when school is closed, they are in jeopardy. For example, I personally have several students who, without the school nurse, will not be able to take their medication on time since they have unreliable parents. Other students have been dependent on the school counselor for emotional support.
What specific prayer requests can you share with us?
- Many school employees work on an hourly basis, so they are not getting paid. Pray for financial provision.
- Some seniors needed their final year as an opportunity to get scouted for sports as the means of attending college.
- Health and wellness of students and staff, especially those who have immunodeficiencies.
- Safety and protection from rioting and other violence resulting from quarantines and shortages.
Rebecca Edwards, Parent Liaison, Virginia:
(A Parent Liaison is a staff member who works to bridge the gap between home and school by helping parents get the information and support they need to ensure their child’s academic and social success, especially families with language and socioeconomic barriers to learning.)
How can intercessors pray for the students and families during this time of school closure?
- Communicating with families with needs is a huge challenge, so the families are not aware of the services available.
- In some school districts, thankfully meals are still be provided for low-income students and their families, which feeds the children and provides for hourly cafeteria workers and bus drivers. However, in rural communities, children may be too far away from the schools or transportation offered to continue to receive free meals. In some school districts, the free meals may not be available during this time.
- Distance learning requires wifi access. With public libraries closing, some students have no wifi. Pray for private companies to step up to provide mobile hotspots and other services at affordable costs, and pray for families to be aware of these offers.
- As more people become infected, pray for medical care and the financial provision to pay for it.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Often Christians are frustrated and negative about public schools. I want to say that what I have seen is that the public schools are intent on helping students.