Storyteller: Brayden Paris
Craig is 51 years old, and lives in Saginaw with his family. He is one of the many brave principals in the Michigan education system. As COVID-19 threatens everyone close to him, unlike many he has been lucky to avoid COVID-19. He presides over the Swan Valley Middle school now.
Craig reported that as funding grew short, causing many older teachers and staff to retire early due to the cuts that would have ensued. During the shutdown, he did his best to help the school district, and kept posted on the Michigan Health and Human Resources website, where he found sources during the shutdown order, reporting suspected cases of the virus in Michigan. One problem Swan Valley High school faced though is that it is a trimester school, which had just finished their second trimester about a week before the shutdown order. Students had new teachers, and the entire school was in disarray. During the shutdown until the end of the 2019-2020 school year, courses were not based on the bell schedule, and were therefore asynchronous. Now, for the 2020-2021 school year, the schools are now having daily zoom sessions that follow the bell schedule, now synchronized. He became more organized over the months, as he adapted to the changes to the education system. He reported that he believes that the changing system will continue to change over the next few years. He saw the scale of physical and mental impact; communities don’t communicate like they used to due to separation. This continues to impact students as classes that made school fun and enjoyable were stripped away, with homework remaining solely. Loss of the physical contact, which the human species craves, may come back to harm us, weakening mental integrity. According to Craig, the schools will change. Over twenty people he knew have been directly impacted by the virus, and schools may play a role in the distribution of the vaccines. Craig looks for fun wherever he can, even going to the length of keeping a journal documenting slang that has emerged during the pandemic, like “social distancing,” and “contact tracing.” Craig says the pandemic teaches us grit, especially for young adults.