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Education during the COVID-19 pandemic: A progress report

How students, parents are feeling

We’re a couple months into a very different school year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Some students are learning online, some are back in the classroom and others are doing a hybrid of both.

Last March, when the school year abruptly ended, families went into crisis learning. They thought by Autumn life would be back to normal. Instead, we’re all adjusting to the new coronavirus reality.

“I’d like to say things are getting better and we’re making steps back into the building ... But we’re nowhere near where I was hoping we would be,” Chris Ogden Pietraz said.

With the number of new coronavirus cases on a dramatic rise, families that committed to virtual school are glad they did.

“She definitely would like to be with her friends again ... But we’re not ready to ... We’re committed to virtual,” mother Mel Kolinski said.

The parents Local 4 spoke with whose kids are in virtual school are happy with how its going.

“I’m surprised to say it’s working out better than face-to-face There’s no distractions of the classroom,” Keisha Barber said.

Barber has a 9th grade son and a 7th grade daughter.

“His grades are looking amazing, and I’m really surprised that it’s been like that. It’s a little more challenging for her because she’s more social. Her grades are still good, but she comes out of the room more often,” Barber said.

For teachers, there is some frustration in the limitations of online learning.

“It causes us to slow down and we’re not necessarily delivering a traditional curriculum but we’re trying to keep all of the core supports intact,” Jason Kaye.

Reyonna Orr has 4th, 8th and 9th grade students. Online learning was just not working for them. They’re glad they’re back in school.

“They adamantly wanted to be back in school,” Orr said. “They did not find they could be productive online and I agree with them. I know that being around their friends has made a whole difference. Socialization is a huge part of going to school.”

One surprising answer Local 4 got from students is that for some of them there are more distractions trying to learn virtually at home than in school.

“I’m in a room with both of my siblings and that can be really distracting,” Abby Cogswell said.

What students in virtual school seem to miss most is hands-on learning. The bottom line on this progress report is that school is going well, but everyone longs for the day we can get back to normal.

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