Schools make changes to special education amid the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:39:49-04

SHOREWOOD — As more schools transition to virtual classes, special education workloads and lesson plans are changing depending on the student's learning difference.

"My kids really respond to a lot of these social cues, and they are learning social cues. They are learning social situations, and so not being able to do that on just an everyday kind of a basis I mean this is one way, you know, but it doesn't replace the touch," Marilyn Meservy, a special education coordinator at St. Robert School in Shorewood, said.

Many of Mrs. Meservey's students rely on in-person and sensory instruction. Now that she doesn't have that same access to her student's she is modifying her lessons to work in a virtual medium.

"Really count on, I guess, the eye contact, the having kids repeat things, having kids do multi-sensory in their own way," she said.

With less one-on-one time, she is virtually meeting with students to go over work before the rest of their classmates are introduced to it.

"We did a preview before they did a reading of the play. We talked what it means, what these words mean, what the vocab means. What does the play mean."

Mrs. Meservey is also in constant contact with parents to coordinate how they can help their kids meet the academic goals the school has set forth.

"Instead of answering 20 questions, the rest of the class is doing, he is doing five questions or ten questions, but their focus is a little bit different," Maggie Newbold said.

Newbold has a son in fifth grade with learning differences. She said the help the school has given her has made it easier to tackle mom duties as well as be a part-time teacher.

"His aid and his school really stepped in and really held my hand," she said.

Newbold's son started virtual learning a couple of days before the rest of his classmates.

It hasn't been that long since St. Robert School has transitioned to virtual classes. Still, teachers, parents, and students have said that is has been a relatively smooth transition compared to everything else going on with the coronavirus pandemic.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.