On Tuesday the Covid-19 Military Support Initiative hosted its second virtual town hall meeting, “Managing the Impact of School Closures for Military Families.”

Blue Star Families’ CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet started the town hall with an overview of a recent “Pain Points Poll,” a survey asking military families’ experience with COVID-19 school closures. 20% of respondents indicated that they or their spouse had to reduce their work hours to homeschool a child. Furthermore, 66% of respondents answered a top concern for their child was being unable to participate in activities important to them as a result of social distancing.

A panel of education experts elaborated on the effects school closures have had on 54 million students throughout the United States.
“We’re hearing from a lot of parents concerns about instant home schooling: what they should be doing or what they will not be doing,” said Judy Glennon of the Military Child Education Coalition. “Some parents do not think they are not equipped for home schooling. Whichever side you fall on, it’s going to be okay. You don’t need a ‘home school’ for children to learn.”

Gregory Leskin of the UCLA military and Veteran Families UCLA National Center for Child Traumatic Stress described the COVID-19 pandemic as a great learning opportunity for building a cohesive family and teaching resilience to children. “Together as a community we need to address trauma they may be facing,” he said.

In the second session of the town hall, Knob Noster School District superintendent Dr. Jarrod Wheeler provided an overview of the potential of the U.S. education system. “We can deploy food service capabilities uninterrupted. We can use bus fleets for mobile hotspots,” said Wheeler. He also said that schools need to focus on the emotional needs of students, for example, hosting “virtual field trips.”

-For a recording of Tuesday town hall please visit ADC’s Knowledge Online for Defense Communities.

Photo by Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP