Remote learning: Not even a week in and some families want out

Parents who remember the chaos of switching from in-person to remote learning in the spring hoped the new remote learning school year would be different. We're less than a week into the new year, and some parents are already disappointed.  

Amber Hardy has a daughter attending Lake Stevens High School remotely. Technology has not been in their favor, Hardy says, as they live in a dead zone between Lake Stevens and Marysville.

Her kids are enrolled in the Lake Stevens School District. Her daughter is in 10th grade and her son is in 3rd grade. Her son had issues with Zoom calls in the spring, and Hardy says they brought the concern to the district as he missed all of his meetings.

As of this week, Hardy says no accommodations have been made, other than the option of adding another hot spot. Hardy says they have hot spots, but the service is still glitchy and she says for her son—focusing is hard enough as it is as he has ADHD. He wasn’t able to attend any of their meet and greet sessions this week. He missed out on interacting with his new classmates and teacher.

Hardy says her daughter, meanwhile, is using Snapchat to watch her friend’s phones to get the lesson information.

“She said that they might be able to send us out a hot spot but my daughter had them do that last year, my sophomore, and today she even came out and said she is facetiming her friends on her phone to watch their computer … so she’s trying to do it, but it’s very difficult for her.”

Hardy says she was hoping the kids would get some sort of socialization by being in groups on Zoom, however her 10th grader says they just join class on mute with their cameras off, so there is no interaction at all, and no motivation to get ready for class.

“She said that it’s really hard for her to stay focused on it because it glitches in and out so she can’t follow any of it anyways. And then watching it, listening to somebody talk, and then trying to get her assignments just listening through her phone it’s not working for her either. It’s like figure out how to build this airplane by listening to a podcast.”

Hardy says she is now looking into online homeschooling for her 3rd grader. She thinks it will be better for her son to learn at his own pace, and not with the stress of connectivity issues.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of education you have in this country, you need to be able to read and write. And not having that one-on-one attention, to not be able to see the children aren’t getting it, it’s not going to help. Especially with kids in kindergarten through 5th grade.”

As for her daughter, Hardy says she is just going to have to ride the year out. She hopes things get better as the year progresses. At the request of her daughter, Hardy says she is buying blue light glasses that she hopes will help with all of the extra screen time.