March 2022 President's Message from Dr. Danielle Kovach
We all have them—the moments in our career that will live forever in our minds and hearts. March 13, 2020, will be a day I will never forget.
On that day, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. That was the day we left school for what we thought would be only two weeks. Our teachers and paraeducators raced around the school frantically, making work packets for our students. No one knew what to expect. Our staff had so many questions and no one had the answers. The only definitive information we knew was that COVID-19 was starting to spread, and we had to keep our students and staff safe from exposure. Looking back on that day, if I knew then what I know now, I would have hugged each child a little tighter as I said goodbye. I did not know that it would be the last day that I would see them in person for the rest of the school year.
Fast forward two years later. New Jersey took a significant step in the beginning of March and removed the mask mandate in schools. As the students came into school, it didn't feel like a day in March, but more like the first day of school in September. They were seeing the faces of classmates and teachers in person for the first time. My class couldn't stop talking to each other. And you know what? I didn't stop them. I gave them time to reacquaint themselves and enjoy being with each other without barriers. I also took this as a learning opportunity because some individuals choose to wear their masks. We talked about respecting differences and valuing everyone's beliefs.
On our first day back without masks, I read to my students "Our 20/20 Journey Back to School," written by Maria Cedolini Thompson. This book, told from a child's perspective, takes a journey through the pandemic, from virtual learning to returning to school. While hindsight is always 20/20, our experience throughout the pandemic has shown us the resilience education professionals, students, and families can have when facing situations beyond anyone's control. Working together as a class and school family, we learned the importance of teamwork. While we still do not know what the future will hold, we can take comfort in knowing that we can get through anything together.
- Dr. Danielle Kovach, 2022 CEC President
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