ADAPT Community Network has been working diligently to ensure students continue to receive important remote learning and teletherapy while they are home. Through the use of technology, ADAPT is able to conduct online learning for students after schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. Parents and teachers are working together, so that remote learning and teletherapy are continuing to happen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADAPT’s Education Department and Information Technology Department worked closely to set up Microsoft 365, including SharePoint classrooms and Microsoft Teams for Video Conferencing for all of ADAPT’s students. It’s vital that students continue learning and progressing while at home. The Microsoft 365 platform is HIPAA compliant, and we have 118 teachers and 1,613 parents accessing the system. Each online classroom includes daily assignments, helpful online resources, activities, and videos that students and families can access at any time. Parents can connect with teachers through emails, video conferencing, and by phone to establish an effective work plan daily.
ADAPT has been working with the Department of Education (DOE) to provide loaner iPads that families can use to participate in online learning if they don’t have computers or tablets they can use at home. It has been a transition, but parents and children are thankful for the services that ADAPT is providing remotely.
ADAPT’s Education program is also sending out a Weekly Digest, which includes lesson plans, activities, online resources, class highlights, and more. This is also sent via the SharePoint classroom but also is helpful for families who haven’t been able to have access to loaner computers yet. This way, they can keep up with the class and connect with the teacher about any questions they may have.
Maria Farano-Rodriguez, the mother of Keanu- who has progressed tremendously in the past year and a half while attending ADAPT’s Staten Island Children’s program, stated, “When the school had to suddenly and unexpectedly closed in mid- March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I worried about what would happen to all of my son’s progress. Fortunately, the acting director, Brian Cohen, has been so wonderful. He has been in constant communication with me, checking in on my son and my whole family.”
In addition to online learning, therapy is continuing remotely as well with the help of family members. Once schools were closed, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists contacted families to determine eligible students for online therapy. They then created a plan through the guidance and feedback on parental/guardian preferences. One-on-one sessions are completed via phone, and video conferencing is used to observe and work with students. Preschool student’s parents are involved with the therapy sessions to assist children during their sessions physically. Exercises and lesson plans are explicitly provided for the needs of the student by therapists who are building upon work that was being provided when school was in-person.
Ms. Farano-Rodriguez says, “Keanu was able to begin receiving all of his regular therapies via video therapy. It has been wonderful! All of his therapists are so helpful, and I really enjoy and feel that he benefits from the video therapy sessions. I am able to see exactly what he is working on in each different therapy, and I can do the carry over when he is not in session.”
School nurses and Social workers are also calling parents once a week to help out with any medical or social-emotional needs while at home. They are working with our facilities department to get any necessary equipment delivered to homes as well as helping to ensure daily medication is being taken consistently.
Marianne Giordano, Senior Vice President of Program Services for Education and Peter Anzalone, Vice President of Program Services, are appreciative of all the incredible efforts of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marianne stated, “During this incredibly challenging time, we would like to thank and recognize all staff for their hard work and dedication. Education staff have come up with engaging activities and creative solutions to ensure that each child is receiving high quality services. They are an invaluable part of the education team”.