Chapin Elementary School teacher Jenna Diebold wanted to help her students understand why the upcoming school year is going to be so different than years past. So, she took time out of her summer to write a children’s book about the importance of following the new COVID-related safety precautions, and why they’re important.

“They’ve seen people out with masks, and seen what’s going on, but I don’t think they’re going to be quite ready for the desks being separate, us having to wear masks, staying away from friends, not being able to hug your teacher. I just wanted to prepare them for a school year that’s going to be a lot different,” she said.

Diebold’s book, Distant Year, is readable in virtual form through Google Slides, and accompanied by photos of her own children acting out the different scenarios explained. It’s also meant to be interactive for any teacher who wants to read it with their class. “I wanted to make it where teachers could stop at different parts and the kids could give their input about having to wear a mask, or how they felt about what it means to be socially distant. We want to give the kids a chance to talk about the way they feel about it,” said Diebold.

Although Diebold intended to read it to her third grade class, her principal decided to send it out to all CES teachers to be read throughout the school. “I was really excited about it. I feel like it’s something that will really help the kids, and I’ve always loved read-alouds. It’s preparing them for something they’re not used to,” she said. The teachers will read it to their classes during the leap week, prior to school officially beginning Sept. 8.

Diebold’s book can be purchased through teacherspayteachers.com for $5.

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