CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — As more school districts welcome students back for the 2020 school year, parents are sharing their questions and concerns about virtual learning.
Campbell County Schools start their staggered schedule Friday, August 7, but parents still have questions about the distance learning option. Jason Horne, the Secondary Supervisor for Campbell County Schools says, any student who has access to high-speed internet can participate.
“They have to turn in their distance learning agreement by Friday, August 7. The agreement essentially says hey, do you agree to sign up for this for 18 weeks, or one semester,” Horne said.
Once you sign up for distance learning, you are locked into that option for the remainder of the semester. Grades kindergarten through second will have a little over 5 hours of instruction per day. Grades 3 through 12 will have a little over 6 hours of instruction per day.
Parental supervision won’t be necessary for older students. The assignments will have detailed instructions and teachers will have office hours every day if students need help or have questions, They will also meet with the teacher once a week for a progress update.
For families that live in rural areas and don’t have access to reliable internet, options are few.
“If you do not have internet, your option right now if you do not feel comfortable going face to face is to do independent homeschooling,” Horne said.
Horne says even with portable internet devices, if you live in an area with poor internet, they won’t help much.
“To get the MiFi kind of devices to do that, they don’t really have any exceptional coverage area that regular wired internet doesn’t have so basically, the same people that don’t have wired internet in our county are getting spotty cell service too. So they’re not going to have the 5G LTE, 5G life that’s out there right now,” Horne said.
One thing the district will offer is a hotspot in the parking lot of every school, but that may not be a viable option for full-time virtual learning.
“This is a stressful time for everybody anyway so we’re keeping that in mind. And I don’t want to overwhelm teachers who are helping these students either so we’re trying to keep everybody’s mental and emotional health in the forefront and not just shove academics down kids throats because that won’t work,” Horne said.
Parents who have chosen the distance learning option can pick up informational packets from their child’s school on August 5. The distance learning agreement is due by August 7.
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