Due to the uncertainty and quickly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-2021 school year was challenging for everyone, including students, parents, administration, and teachers. Even as 2022 approaches, schools are still evaluating whether to return to in-person learning or to continue to use a hybrid model for the upcoming school year. Here, Paulette Chaffee, attorney, educator, and Ambassador for Orange County 4th District, dives deeper into this topic below, highlighting how teachers rose to the challenges of the 2020-2021 school year.

Schools Response to the Pandemic  

The first confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States were on January 29, 2020. Not long after, one high school, Bothell High School, in the state of Washington closed its doors on February 27, 2020, and the rest of the schools in the nation followed close behind as more school employees and students tested positive for COVID-19. Only two days before, on February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had released a warning to schools to begin preparation in response to the coronavirus.

In early March of 2020, as more and more schools shut their doors, a dramatic shift in education began as distance learning started becoming the primary education method. Then, on March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. When the WHO made its announcement, more than one million students had already faced the reality of school closures. A day after the WHO declared a pandemic, Ohio became the first state to follow through with a statewide closing. One day later, fifteen other states followed Ohio’s lead.

Adapting Times

When the stay-at-home mandate took place, schools had to continue teaching students through online learning programs. Educators felt the pressure as they balanced at-home life, adapting to new teaching methods and dealing with issues such as no-show students and other difficulties. Both students, parents, and teachers voiced how challenging virtual learning was throughout the pandemic, hardly having any time to get used to the technology and format before diving in.

For The Teachers Who Rose to the Challenge

Maneuvering the education system in the U.S. throughout the pandemic was a trial for all parties involved. Though challenges were a part of the journey, so many teachers successfully rose to the challenge of delivering quality education virtually despite all of the obstacles. To the teachers who went the extra mile to make a difference during such trying times, the hard work does not go unnoticed in our history.

About Paulette Chaffee

  1. Paulette Chaffee is an educator and Ambassador for Orange County 4th District. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Redlands in California. She also has earned a Lifetime Teaching Credential in the State of California a Juris Doctor degree from California’s Western State University.

Chaffee currently serves as a Board Member on All the Arts for All the Kids Foundation in Fullerton School District. In 2017, Chaffee was awarded Woman of the Year by OC YWCA. Other awards Chaffee has received include Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s Woman of Distinction and Fullerton School District’s Above and Beyond Award.