Esmerelda is a student at Amaro Tan. Homework!
This spring offered unprecedented challenges for students and teachers everywhere-- including Albania. After the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Albania in early March, the whole country quickly locked down. Schools and universities closed their doors, and stringent restrictions on movement were implemented.
Nehemiah Gateway's schools closed along with all the rest during that time, sending children home and tasking teachers with figuring out how to keep the learning going at a distance. At Nehemiah Gateway University, with its international student body and professors from all over the world, Zoom was already a well established platform for classroom discussions. In tandem with the Populi classroom management platform, professors were able to keep teaching from afar, to students learning at a distance from one another.
Nehemia School, our private K-12 school, migrated to Zoom as well. Many students at Nehemia School have some sort of access to technology, so this worked fairly well. Teachers worked one-on-one with those students lacking technology at home, but most were able to access online group learning somehow.
Amaro Tan, and the children in the Gjirokaster school program, faced more challenges. Coming from families that were already living in poverty when the crisis hit, few of these children had access to computers or tablets at home. Many of them didn't even have access to cell phones or television, to access the Albanian government's televised lessons. For these students, teachers worked overtime, in many cases tutoring individual students on borrowed telephones to help them continue learning. They also brought food aid to each child's family throughout the crisis. Staff in Gjirokaster and at Amaro Tan report that these children may have missed school the most-- missed seeing their friends, missed being around their teachers, and missed the clean, safe, and predictable atmosphere at school.
As of June 1, preschool and kindergarten students are back in school. Over the summer, we plan to expand socially distanced, phased summer school offerings for all ages, and especially at Amaro Tan, to help keep the children engaged.
Although the picture for school year 2020-2021 is unclear, NG will follow or exceed all requirements and best practices to keep staff and students safe-- and keep them learning.
Nehemia students made 100 masks for local hospital
Amaro Tan kindergarteners are happy to be back!
Students at NGU