Southeastern students have been adjusting to the necessary changes that have been set in place by the university and government leaders to help protect the health and safety of the people in our community during COVID-19.  Allie Gressaffa, a senior Elementary Education major for grades 1-5, shared her experience with these changes.

Allie started student teaching in the fall of 2019 and planned to continue it until May 2020. She is a student teacher at Bonne Ecole Elementary in Slidell, Louisiana.  Her student teaching has been “suspended until further notice” due to COVID-19.

During these unusual times, Allie’s supervisors and professors have been in regular contact with her through her Southeastern Email, Moodle, and Google Meet. The professors are using this as a teaching experience.  Allie said the student teachers are learning “how we can learn from this time to help our classroom and future students.”

IMG_12281Through this experience and being a student teacher, Allie has learned that “students of all ages are being affected by this.” On March 22, 2020, Allie had the opportunity to participate in a “BEE Superstar Car Parade” with teachers from Bonne Ecole Elementary. The teachers were each in their own cars and followed a neighborhood map. The teachers decorated their cars and waved to students and their parents. She said, “we were so excited just to see how much our students miss us; [it] was so moving. I am so excited to go back to school if that is in the works and able to happen.”

Allie was planning on graduating in the spring of 2020.  She said that “it is upsetting because [we] still want our moment and want to be recognized, because we put in so much work into this, but we are all doing the best that we can and being as flexible as possible.”

As part of Southeastern’s efforts to find a solution to this difficult situation, Allie received an email to participate in a survey from the Student Government Association (SGA) president, Karley Bordelon, about options regarding the time of graduation. The options included to graduate at the end of the summer of 2020, the end of the fall in 2020, not participate in graduation, and another option for students to add their own idea of a solution. Although it may not be in the exact manner they originally envisioned when embarking upon their academic journey, Southeastern and the SGA are committed to still helping these students celebrate their accomplishments in the best way possible, while ensuring the health and safety of them, their loved ones, and of everyone in our community.

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