CAPE CORAL, Fla. — There is no secret the pandemic has put a lot of stress on teachers in Southwest Florida.
“One day we went to spring break, and we came back and we were all online,” said Mardelys Nunez, a 3rd-grade teacher at Mid Cape Global Academy.
“I can remember teachers that came to me as a principal and said, what do you mean I have to do an online class?” said Dr. Beth Barfield, the Superintendent for Glades County schools.
After all of the zoom calls, digital classrooms and online meetings, teachers like Mrs. Nunez say it wasn't all for nothing.
“We made bigger connections, that school year and we were both home, so we got to see the grandparents and the parents and the siblings, they were part of our class,” said Nunez.
She says sharing their classroom online, is something they plan to keep doing.
At Mid Cape Global Academy, technology such as classroom cameras, used during the pandemic are now an everyday tool for students to use.
“So if a student is absent they can come back to that recording and take a look at it, even for notes. For example, if they forgot something that we taught that day, they are like, "let me refresh it"..they can come back to that recording and take a look at it again,” said Nunez.
As classrooms continue to change, so do the expectations for superintendents like Dr. Barfield.
“Previous to COVID, having an online classroom or having google meets, or google pages it wasn’t something that was a requirement… now it’s a requirement,” she said.
The precondition brought on by COVID, now a reminder of not only the path school districts have walked--but also a guide for better education in Southwest Florida.
“Life continued because we made it a priority to make things work,” said Dr. Barfield.
“ Being able to say there are the tools you already have, you are already using them for games or other things like that, might as well utilize them for school,” said Nunez.