Special education teachers wonder what fall will hold

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order to delay the start of school until after Labor Day is giving schools extra time to get their plans together.

Some teachers that specialize in special education say they are no closer to feeling secure about what is coming in the fall.

“No one knows what to do yet. How this is going to work? How it’s going to look?” wonders Brenda Moon, retired special education teacher of 18 years.

Educators are trying to decide whether in-person classes, online learning, or a hybrid will be best. Moon says for special education a one-size answer is not as simple.

“Say if we taught K-5, you might have 5th graders working at a 2nd-grade level. How is that going to work, when we have on-level students in the same room?”

Now that Moon is retired, she is using her time to advocate for those students with special needs in Topeka.

“Who’s making the decision for this kid goes to school and this kid does online? Where does that fall and who makes that decision and they don’t know that for sure yet,” she said.

Rebecca Gobel, USD 259 Adaptive Music Teacher, says the time between now and Labor Day will be crucial to get a plan that can stick.

“If they jump in and then we have to step back and do like we did back in March and then we jump back in again that is very disruptive for students that need consistency in their lives.”

Once in the classroom, like all other teachers, special education teachers will have to balance learning and safety.

“You have a whole array of kids in the classroom that have behaviors. They are not going to sit in one place, some have the pace, some have to move. Then, you have the far extreme end who toss things and run out,” said Moon.

Gobel says she is hoping for the best plan for both her students and fellow teachers.

“No matter when we jump back in and what they do there’s gonna be risk involved.”

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