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Parents concerned students are falling behind while in quarantine; no work for them to complete

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:09 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Hundreds of children across the region are home from school in quarantine. School districts say students can keep up with their assignments online, but parents say they are not posted.

Kanawha County Schools parent Abby Persinger says her daughter has already been quarantined twice since the first day of school on Aug. 9. Her son has been quarantined once.

“So far in the month of September she’s gone to school one time,” Persinger said.

When she logged on to Schoology to check to see their assignments, she said only a few math problems were posted.

“For math they have like warmups which consists of three math problems, and they haven’t had any English work. I think they’ve had one social studies assignment. The only way they are in communication with their teachers is if they message their teacher,” Persinger said. “My son has messaged his science teacher three different times, and he still hasn’t gotten a response back. Just trying to find out what his assignment is supposed to be.”

Persinger says the math teacher at her daughter’s school was helpful, but she feels virtual learning last year was more effective because her children received face-to-face instruction.

“What’s going on now, they’re not learning anything,” Persinger said. “Kanawha County needs to figure something out. Our kids are the ones that are suffering, and it’s not fair to them.”

WSAZ reached out to Superintendent Dr. Tom Williams to find out how they handle learning for children in quarantine. Dr. Williams was not available for an interview but sent us this statement:

“In Kanawha County Schools, students are being sent home with their iPads daily in case they need to learn from home for a period of time. We are now fully 1-to-1 with iPads in PreK-12. Generally, KCS students are able to complete work from home via assignments in Schoology. We have also bolstered our ability to give WiFi hotspots to families in need who may not have access at home, and we are continuing plans to provide even more hotspots to those families who need them. If there is a core group closure and the teacher is feeling well, there are also some core groups receiving live remote instruction from their teacher. Each Kanawha County School has a plan for making sure that students do not lose instruction from being out for a quarantine. Parents should contact their school principals if they are not seeing what they need.”

Putnam County parent Ashley Zidarevich is having the same struggles with Putnam County Schools. She had two students in quarantine for a week and had to ask the teachers if there was any work for them to complete.

“My middle schooler is technically failing three weeks in almost all of his classes cause he can’t get caught up,” Zidarevich sai. “He is a really smart boy, and you can see the stress on his face. He’s very overwhelmed, because he’s getting worksheet after worksheet after worksheet and he used to love school and right about now he hates it.”

WSAZ also reached out to Putnam County Schools, the superintendent was also not available for an interview, but a spokesperson through the school provided us this statement:

“Putnam County Schools students out of the classroom due to quarantine are receiving instruction via Schoology or learning packets (for families who may not have reliable internet service. Students in quarantine are marked as excused when reporting absences. Additionally, PCS has a make-up policy (Students will be provided the opportunity to make up work missed as a result of an excused or unexcused absence) that allows schools to be flexible and support families. To ensure students aren’t falling behind when out of the classroom, PCS offers several services like our technology help desk hotline and our emotional support hotline. When students return, they will also have opportunities to receiving tutoring services (I.E., after-school tutoring).”

Zidarevich says since her son was quarantined two weeks ago. He’s been playing catch up on school work, even doing school during the weekend.

“My middle schooler is technically failing three weeks in almost all of his classes cause he can’t get caught up,” she said. “When it’s just here’s the assignment sink or swim, it’s not how a lot of people are going to learn.”

WSAZ reached out to the West Virginia Department of Education as well, asking there any checks and balances from the state, to insure local districts are providing adequate instruction for students sitting at home in quarantine from COVID-19.

This was their statement:

“Curriculum and instruction are local-level decisions. If parents feel that their students are not receiving instruction whether it be face-to-face, remote or virtually, they need to contact their school immediately. If the response is not to the parent’s satisfaction, the central office or county board should be contacted. All counties have named a dedicated person for both remote and virtual instruction, so, if at any time the parents are unable to get in contact with the school, the central offices have dedicated individuals to help answer questions and get the information parents need to ensure learning continues.”

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