Lee Ann Runyon, Bloomfield, NE

April 4, 2020 |

Nebraska is our featured state for the 50 States in 50 Weeks project! Each week, National Rural Education Association and I Am A Rural Teacher show how vast rural America is. Check out an perspective from Lee Ann Runyon of Bloomfield, NE, about how her school was prepared for the COVID-19 closures. Submit your story: http://buff.ly/3d7hWUe | Bloomfield Community Schools | Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association

"I am proud to be part of a rural school system that was prepared to begin teaching our students remotely. The week before we thought this could be a reality we started practicing using Zoom to present our lessons and set up classes in Google Classroom. When the day came for our students to leave the building they set out for home with all their materials and since we are a 1:1 school with Mac laptops they were ready to go. It was a fairly seamless transition. Most of the students were on board right away, and it took others a little longer to adjust. Are things perfect, no, but I am really proud of everything our staff, parents, and community are doing to make this work.

The school system has been blessed with a lot of technology that is available to our students. In my classroom I have two 3D printers and we have been able to put them during this time to help our community and surrounding communities. Nucor in Norfolk provided a .stl file of a face mask shield and we have been producing face shields and mask straps 24/7 for the past several weeks. We have been able to provide masks for our local Medical Clinic and Nursing Home and sent a box to Osmond Hospital in Osmond NE. Since I am now working from home I haven't been able to keep the machines going, but other staff members stepped in and took over. Our PE Teacher Kris Schmeckpeper works with the 3D printers every day and evening to make sure the process keeps going and delivers the product to whoever needs it.

Our Superintendent Shane Alexander has also helped greatly in keeping this project going. Most of our families had broadband access and Mr. Alexander made sure that those who did not were able to get access through the use of AT&T Hot Spots.

Our kitchen staff spoke up immediately and made a plan to ensure that the students would receive lunches everyday and various staff members at the elementary help deliver the lunches daily. The elementary teachers are busy putting together packets for their students to be working on and sending encouraging videos over social media to let them know how much we miss and care for our students. This quarantine has thrown us all into a different way of life.

I am proud of the way the Bloomfield, NE community has banded together to help everyone get through this and I am especially proud to be a Bloomfield Bee!"

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