Like many of you, we at Maker Ed have been monitoring the recent developments around the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. We are monitoring local public health recommendations (from the California State Department of Public Health, Alameda County Public Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about group gatherings and assessing the situation on a daily basis.
While at present, no Maker Ed staff is directly affected by the coronavirus, we are taking some precautionary measures to protect the health of our employees and to support our community in following social distancing recommendations. Here are some of the decisions we have made that immediately affect our work:
- We are closing the Community Studio, at least through March 23rd, 2020, and possibly beyond. Our staff members are working remotely during this time, and can be reached via email, but our main office phone line will not be answered.
- We have canceled all of our scheduled public events in March, including the maker educator meetup which was supposed to take place on March 26th.
- We are also postponing our Program Development workshop, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 30–May 1.
- We are cautiously moving forward with planning our second annual summer Institute, which is scheduled to take place in June, and our fall Convening. We will make a final decision about whether to host the Institute by April 10th, 2020.
- We have temporarily updated our Cancellation Policy and plan to offer full refunds to any event participant who is unable to attend a 2020 event due to COVID-19 related issues.
These are the concrete steps we have taken to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic so far. In the coming days, we will also reach out to the maker community online, to ask about ways we can support each other remotely. Since many schools and learning organizations made swift decisions to move students towards distance learning, or to close schools entirely, we know that this is a pressing concern for many of you.
If you have thoughts about how we can support you in the coming weeks, please get in touch! Leave a comment on this blog post, email us, or start a conversation with us on social media (we’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). We are hoping to compile a list of resources, platforms, and best practices for remote learning that any maker educator can take and use, and are exploring the possibility of scheduling online meetups.
Many of us here at Maker Ed chose to work at this organization because we believe in the power of maker education to help prepare youth for our ever-changing future. Sometimes, these changes arrive more quickly than we expect. In the coming weeks, our community’s values of adaptability, iteration, problem-solving, and real-world learning, remain necessary. We know that makers and maker educators are used to applying the thinking, skills, and behaviors that help communities through crises.
We believe in you — in your resilience, your adaptability, and your compassion and care. Stay safe and be kind! We are here to support you however we can.