Year in review: Parents, teachers reflect on changes in the classroom

Jacksonville, Fla. — In 2020, Duval County students and teachers left for Spring Break, not realizing they wouldn’t return to the classroom for the rest of the year.

“We went out on Spring Break earlier than most people in the state and we didn’t come back,” said Terrie Brady, President of Duval Teachers United.

She reflected on a year since the pandemic began, which brought many changes to the classroom including virtual learning.

“As long as we adapt and make it work, we’ll continue with graduations and continue to teach. Because our employees want to,” she said.

This is also the second week school staff of all ages are able to get vaccination at the federally-supported sites in Florida, including the Gateway site.

Staff ages 50 and up can go to the state-run sites, including Regency.

Brady said the vaccines bring hope to the classroom of a new normal.

“Are we going to be able to get back to somewhat of normality, like children eating in the cafeteria? Instead of eating in the classroom?,” she asked.

Parents also reflected on the year. Some said they continued with virtual through the school year, but eventually switched back to brick & mortar after gaining confidence in DCPS’ handle of the COVID-19 situation.

“We had a hard time adapting because she missed her friends and her teacher,” Erhan Ardic, a DCPS parent, said.

“We thought the pandemic was getting under control in the schools [so we switched her back to brick and mortar in the 3rd quarter].”