Head Start Teachers Reach Out While Social Distancing
Teachers Sheri Phillips and Lynn Justice are taking the separation from their Scottsboro Head Start students one day at a time. Although schools in Alabama are now closed for the remainder of the year, staff are working behind the scenes to ensure their families are taken care of.
“We had a really good day yesterday delivering care packages and Easter Baskets to all of our children. We kept a safe distance with the children and families, which was a challenge because they wanted hugs and so did we.”
Like all Head Start classrooms, Partnership staff form lasting relationships with their families. While they are unable to teach the children in a traditional sense, Sheri and Lynn have taken advantage of the limited personal time with their students during care package deliveries. They recently used social distancing during deliveries as a teachable moment by discussing the importance of staying safe and well, what social distancing means, and why hugs are off limits, at least for the time being.
At each family’s home, Sheri and Lynn have been greeted with excited children who were promised “a million hugs” once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and staff and children are reunited. Lynn said of one delivery, “We put the package on the porch, knocked, and quickly stepped back from the door. We heard (the student) coming to the door so we waited in the yard. When he opened the door and saw his surprises on the porch he flung the door open and said, “Oh my goodness! Wow! Look, Mommy!” Instead of the usual hug, he waved and yelled to his teachers, “Hey, Ms. Lynn! Hey, Mrs. Sheri! I love you, Ms. Lynn. I miss you! I love you, Mrs. Sheri. I miss you! Thank you for my presents!”
While visits with families are from a safe distance, the staff continue to value the strong bonds they have built with their families throughout the school year. Teacher Lynn Justice summed up the visits by saying, “If I do not do anything else this year my heart is full, I would not trade those few minutes for anything.”