Elementary schools combat COVID-19 with Remote Learning

With the recent closure of schools due to the outbreak of COVID-19, both public and private school teachers are struggling to keep their students academically engaged.

Elementary school teachers are struggling to keep their students academically involved during the current school shut down. While some schools are granted more resources than others, both private and public school teachers are questioning the efficiency of remote teaching, regardless of their given materials.

“The district has provided online resources. Many of these resources are things the students are already familiar with as they are programs we utilize during the school day,” Bonne Ecole Elementary teacher Ramona Stein explained. She continued, “From what I can tell less than 10% of my students are accessing the materials that have been provided to them.”

Stein teaches sixth-grade math, and the transition so far has not seen many benefits, or even many positive outcomes.

“My students will clearly not be prepared to access sixth-grade curriculum. Math builds upon itself and they will have missed two months of knowledge. Next year we will need to not only teach 6th grade standards but will also need to go back to the fifth-grade curriculum so that they have the foundation upon which to build so they can have success with the 6th grade curriculum,” Stein concluded.

Stein added that typically, she would need a month to help students recall knowledge they lost over the summer. Now, she will be expected to review at least two months of additional material at the start of the next school year.

Heather Frazier, a seventh and eighth-grade teacher at Slidell Christian Academy, a small private school, described how difficult the change has been. At the moment, SCA has not been participating in any form of remote teaching. However, the administration did create a Facebook campaign in order to keep the school spirit alive.

“I would like to see us utilize some online methods such as Zoom or Moodle, but for a school our size and with little to no training for the teachers and students, it would be difficult,” Frazier added.

With only 35 students attending SCA, it has been even more difficult to get students to participate in any sort of outside involvement. Also, because SCA follows a different curriculum than public schools, they are unable to utilize the online resources that St. Tammany Parish School Board provided.

If the rest of the school year is to be completed remotely, Frazier explained, “We would create packets for families to utilize in their schooling at home. Perhaps, with that, we could supplement or provide tutoring for questions.”

The St. Tammany Parish School Board posted on their website, “We’re not requiring online distance learning since we cannot ensure all students will have equal access to learning. We encourage our students and families to utilize these resources. Students will not be graded for these optional online educational opportunities.”

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