ENDWELL (WBNG) -- Less than a month ago, students packed the halls and classrooms of schools like Maine-Endwell Senior High School.
But now, the schools are empty and learning has moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move to online teaching and learning has been a challenge, even for 2020 NYS Teacher of Year Rachel Murat.
"We all really are flying by the seat of our pants because there is no manual for this," said Murat. "I really like the analogy that we're trying to put the plane together as we fly the plane through a hurricane."
Murat has taught in the Maine-Endwell Central School District for 24 years, and enjoys interacting with her students in person.
But with the switch to a technology-based education as a way to keep students and teachers safe, she's had to adjust.
"It's definitely a switch in mindset because you aren't having that day to day face time with the kids," said Murat. "This is such a struggle for everybody."
Murat said she and other teachers within the school and district have started using tools like Zoom and Schoology to give students resources and materials needed to succeed.
"They have been engaged, they have helped us learn different platforms, give us feedback about what's working, what's not working," Murat said.
But Murat harping back on a key element of her job that's missing: the interaction with her students.
"I miss my kids. I miss seeing them every day. I'm miss checking in with them every day," Murat said. "I know that this is very hard on them and that this is very frustrating for them. I've has probably hundreds of text messages from kids, and they're just frustrated, and they're sad."
Schools in Broome County will remain closed until April 13, when the county will revisit the threat of COVID-19 in our area.
Murat, however, is keeping a positive mentality, and is focused on what's in front of her.
"Worrying about something in the future is just taking away your minutes from today, and so I think we just need to focus on today and what can we do today."