While it’s true that The Signal has published many stories relating to Covid-19 and how it has affected the student body; The Signal hasn’t done a story about how Covid-19 has affected the special education program and its students.
While in general, the student body has all had the same changes in guidelines, the special education program has had to deal with more changes to their individual programs.
“I feel the behaviors in school have been more positive and less negative behaviors,” said Mary McGlade, a special education teacher. “However, [the struggle of] getting students to participate and complete assignments may be increasing.”
The special education program has had to go through many changes to meet the new safety guidelines at TJ. Everyone is now wearing masks and social distancing in class but on top of that, many of the co-op work programs have been changed dramatically.
One such co-op work program is Buzz’s Brew. In this program, all students from TJ, including those in the special education program, have the opportunity to learn in a work-like setting. They learn how to serve people, count money, give change, work well with others, and many more skills.
“I work with students in a work co-op class (Buzz’s Brew). We were not able to open right away,” explained McGlade. “We have opened now but to staff only.[Covid-19] limited the number of our students being able to participate in a work experience setting. In Buzz’s Brew due to shorter periods on Mondays, we are closed and only open Tuesday -Friday. On Mondays, we are in a classroom doing work-related activities.”
Zach Kotrous, a 12th grader at TJ, commented on the changes he’s seen around school. “[The things that have] changed are the masks and lunches.”
Overall, the responses to the safety measures have been positive. “My students in work co-op have been fine with the new measures but have to be reminded to keep masks over their nose,” McGlade added.
Though the special educations programs have had to adjust to meet the new safety guidelines at TJ, they are all still thriving and doing the same work as before. Even though some of the co-op work programs have seen the most change, they are still teaching students the skills they need for the work-force and preparing them for life after high school.
Everyone at TJ is doing their very best to keep the school running smoothly and everyone should feel proud of that. Things will continue to change around TJ, but the adaptability shown by students and staff shows that they can handle any changes coming their way.