At the time the PTSA is launching its new website, the District is negotiating a reopening agreement with the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, parents are speaking at Board Meetings, Town Halls are occurring frequently, and the District has updated its Zoom license to have 1000 participants. Hopefully vaccines will arrive soon, and the path to getting BUSD students back in school will become clear.
Meanwhile, a lot of information about Covid and what reopening might entail keeps coming our way. We can’t keep up with it ourselves let alone summarize it, so we’re passing on 2 informative links to sources of information that are regularly updated: the District’s reopening dashboard and the Daily Cal’s ongoing reporting on School Board meetings and District developments.
Prior to our January 21st meeting, we sent out a questionnaire via the eTree and Student Bulletin. There were 121 responses: 101parents and 20 students. Although taking BHS classes via distance learning has been OK for some, it’s been disastrous for others. We did our best to present a representative sampling in the google presentation we shared at the meeting.
The one question that we didn’t attempt to summarize in the presentation was “How has distance learning affected your (or your child's) mental health and emotional well being?’ No summary could do justice to what was shared. So we are sharing what was written by the 113 who answered and said “Yes” to the final question “Are you OK with the content of what you've written being shared?” If nothing else, collectively bearing witness to the experiences of BHS students pays homage to what Berkeley High students and their families are going through this year.
Everyone at the meeting agreed that the PTSA cannot take a position on reopening the schools, but endorsed what we can do, which is to channel parent and student energy into creating meaningful and fun outlets for our students to counteract the negative effects of isolation and loss they are experiencing. Our Black History Month Art Contest is the first step we have taken, and already BHS students and staff are excited.
The PTSA wants your creative ideas, your talents, and your energy to help us generate meaningful and safe ways for BHS students to engage with each other, have fun, and celebrate graduation. Please Join, Get in Touch, and Donate.
The PTSA Parent and Student Executive Team of 2020-21, February 1, 2021