Subject: Message to Teacher Candidates from Associate Dean Mary Ann McKinnon on Participation in Field Experiences During COVID-19
Dear Teacher Candidates
I want you to know that your faculty and staff in the College of Education and Health Sciences understand the anxiety and conflicted feelings you have regarding efficiently and expeditiously completing your teacher licensure program while also navigating the drastically altered P-12 education landscape posed by the pandemic. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is encouraging P-12 schools in the state to leverage the skills and knowledge of teacher candidates as much as possible to assist in maintaining the continuity and quality of education (doe.mass.edu/edprep/advisories/student-teachers.pdf). BSU is embracing this important call to move forward with the field-based components of our teacher preparation programs but in an altered or alternative (virtual) format. The CEHS faculty have been busy researching best practice options for completing observation/field experience assignments for the upcoming academic year.
The College of Education and Health Sciences is also working with our vast network of P-12 professional development schools (PDSs) to safely place our fall 2020 student teachers. We anticipate that these placements will take place in virtual or hybrid format. Our student teachers are asked to follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines for their assigned school/district. These guidelines and procedures have been developed in compliance with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education fall school reopening guidance and CDC Safe Return Recommendations .
We want our teacher candidates to know that the safety of our students and faculty is our utmost priority, however if you do not feel comfortable participating in student teaching or a field-based component of your program, we understand and respect your concerns. Please feel free to postpone field-based courses or student teaching until you do feel comfortable. Our faculty and staff are here for you during this difficult time.
We’ve got this!
Mary Ann McKinnon
Associate Administrative Dean
College of Education and Health Sciences