When all was right — and normal — in this world (think pre-March 2020), teachers were part of a line of defense in keeping students safe.

When students are in the classroom, the teachers who see them every day have a keen sense of knowing when something is wrong, both in school and outside of it, and any caring, kind and good teacher jumps in to help fix the problem — or alert the proper people if the issue is at home.

It’s what makes teachers great. They know your children. They look out for them.

Fast-forward to this new world we’re living in. A world filled with Zoom meetings, stay-at-home orders and, of course, virtual learning for a majority of the students in the city of Harrisonburg. The virtual teaching for those teachers now includes reading how students are doing, with interaction confined to the fiber optics of the internet.

Through the online learning, Jennifer Evans, a third-grade teacher at Stone Spring Elementary, heard that distinctive “chirp” of a low smoke detector battery in some of their virtual classrooms. Now, those teachers are working with the city’s fire department to get new batteries, and smoke detectors, in those homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, roughly three out of five fire deaths occurred in homes that didn’t have smoke alarms or ones that weren’t working properly in 2019. The association also reports that dead batteries caused 25% of smoke alarm failures.

If it wasn't for Evans and her keen ears while teaching classes online, who knows how those stats would have played out locally.

Thanks, Teach.

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