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During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Loyola Educators Offer Leadership

Almost overnight, our entire American education system changed at every grade level. We as a nation found the abstract threat of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming suddenly very real and immediate, and within a matter of days or weeks, schools everywhere were closing their doors. Just as suddenly, educators, parents, and administrators around the country found themselves scrambling to figure out how to teach entire curricula and run programs using homeschooling and distance learning.

The challenges have been great. Overburdened learning management systems, teachers and students who had rarely done distance learning at all up until now, homes without the internet access needed to continue schooling, and parents struggling to oversee their children's’ education while working full-time from home-- these are just a few of the things that have overwhelmed everyone involved in education.

In this rush to offer consistency and structure to students of all ages, parents and teachers alike have turned to internet sources and the media to seek out expert guidance, tools, and support for teaching in the time of coronavirus. One of the more hopeful trends arising from this crisis is the sheer number of education experts who have stepped up to generously offer leadership about how to teach during a pandemic. We’re proud to say that Loyola School of Education faculty have been among those who have gone beyond the walls of their own classrooms to offer help to parents and colleagues everywhere.

How Loyola University Is Facing the Pandemic

Loyola, too, has closed its campus and moved all classes online through the summer. Our COVID-19 response web page details all up-to-date changes and provides resources and contact information for students, staff, and faculty to adjust to those changes. Prospective students are still able to participate in virtual tours and other social spaces online. An emergency relief fund has been established to provide financial aid to students and their families who are in need.

Here in the School of Education, we’ve put out several blog posts to help not just our own faculty and students cope with the sudden change to distance learning and the shock of leaving campus, but our colleagues in the field of education around the country. Our dean, Dr. Josh Smith, wrote an open letter to Loyola educators with a message of encouragement about our work teaching during the coronavirus pandemic that will resonate with any teacher.

We shared our Loyola pedagogy of care, with resources and support for educators who need to prioritize self-care throughout the challenges of this pandemic. And Dr. Kelly Keane, director of the educational technology program here at Loyola, offered her thoughts about the elements of transformational online learning.

Our School of Education Faculty Reaches Out to Parents and Teachers Everywhere

But our faculty’s work goes even further. The university has provided a list of faculty experts in a variety of areas, including online education, who can speak to the media about the ripple effects of coronavirus throughout every area of our lives. As of this writing, several School of Education faculty members have offered their insight and knowledge to the nation in media pieces and videos.

We’d like to share their contributions now, to show what kind of leadership our School of Education has to offer to the field of education, and hopefully to extend the reach of their guidance to anyone who needs it. Please share this article or any of the links in it with someone who’s looking for support as they work to continue their children’s or students’ schooling throughout pandemic closures.

See What Our Educators Had to Say

Dr. Gayle Cicero, Ed.D., a clinical assistant professor, is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) who specializes in organizational leadership and who prepares future school counselors to work with marginalized youth and to fulfill the clinical demands of their jobs. She spoke with The New York Times for an article titled “Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled” about how parents can help their children deal with their feelings about school closures and canceled events. She offered specific approaches to take with children to meet them on their level, joining a number of colleagues in the field to help parents through these tough conversations.

Dr. Amy McGinn, Ed.D., a lecturer in the educational technology program, is an expert in online learning. However, she also drew on her experience as a working mother for her interview with Baltimore’s Child in a piece titled “Working From Home With Kids” that offered some decidedly low-tech ideas for teleworking parents to give their kids structure and variety while making it possible to get through their own workday.

Dr. Ramon Goings, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the Timonium Graduate Center, is an expert in urban education and researches the academic experiences of high-achieving or gifted Black men. He contributed a blog post to Interfolio’s series The Smart Scholar titled “Tips During COVID-19 for Professors to Support Students” that encouraged professors to consider their students’ home environments when designing online learning during coronavirus, and also to consider how they might relax their requirements of themselves as an act of self-care.

Loretta Holmberg-Madsen, a lecturer in Literacy Education, used her Teach N Reach YouTube channel to create videos in which she shared free online educational websites for parents to use with their children while everyone’s sheltering in place at home. In her videos, she reviews and explains each recommendation to help parents choose which ones are best for their kids’ needs. She has Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Dr. Marie Heath, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Technology, researches public education that supports social change. She has expertise in the intersection of technology use and civic engagement for young people attending high-poverty, majority-minority schools. In a Business Insider article titled “11 Real-Life Skills You Can Teach Your Kids at Home During a Quarantine”, Dr. Heath joined colleagues in the field in giving advice to parents about the most useful life skills they could teach their children during quarantine.

Still Looking for Guidance?

If you’re an educator looking to connect with your community online, trade ideas, and find resources for teaching during coronavirus, consider signing onto our TeachersConnect online community for educators only. If you have general questions about the School of Education, see our contact page or call the school directly at 410-617-5095.

We hope you stay safe and well during this crisis, and that you find all the help you need to carry on your vital work as an educator and overcome the challenges of teaching online.