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Area Officials Should Continue To Embrace Live Chats After Virus

If there is a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic closures of public buildings, it is that many of our officials are embracing technology.

Charles Leichner, Cassadaga Valley Central School superintendent, puts up videos with updates for his school community. Sherman Central School has been hosting read-alongs with teachers via Facebook. Pine Valley has hosted virtual story times and viodeo updates with Bryna Booth, district superintendent. Other schools are using the internet as well to keep parents and community members informed, but one shining star is Dr. Bret Apthorpe, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent.

Apthorpe has hosted regular Facebook live chats with parents and students over the past two weeks, often with staff chiming in comments and help in response to questions. His hour-long chat Friday answered dozens of questions, touched on some interesting points regarding students who aren’t engaging with teachers, his thoughts on whether or not schools will reopen, how students will be graded and how the district is using technology to keep students learning while school buildings are closed. Some of the questions asked during the Facebook live sessions are then repurposed into materials for the district website.

We hope that school districts remember these steps to keep the public involved once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Much of this technology has existed for the past couple of years, but was only used when absolutely necessary this year. Apthorpe’s Facebook live chats, in particular, should consider whoever is in his position next year in the Jamestown Public Schools District, and we hope more school officials consider doing them as well.

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