In March, when news of the coronavirus began to spread, one of our first tasks was to decide what to do with the hundreds of candidates who were in schools completing clinical experiences. This was new territory for everyone and no procedures for this type of situation had ever been developed. The decision was made to continue full-time internships, but all other field-based work was halted to allow P-12 teachers to focus on their own instruction and students. Through the strong partnerships we have with our school districts, we were able to navigate the situation and successfully graduate over 400 interns Spring 2020.
As we plan for the fall semester, while we now have some experience and advanced knowledge of the situation, the P-12 landscape will be even more varied—both within and across school districts. It has quickly become apparent that we will need to supplement our field-based work in other ways. We are assembling a range of options, including organizing a video repository, creating data-rich case studies from previous assignments, and building a tutoring network to offer virtual tutoring services to children in our local communities while simultaneously allowing candidates the opportunity to plan, implement, and evaluate their instruction. Another important option we will be utilizing to provide practice opportunities to candidates is SIMTeach@TU, our Mursion simulation system.