Some Alabama parents concerned as their children prepare for virtual learning during COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts across central Alabama are going virtual in some capacity. Some are only doing virtual learning while some are following a staggered schedule with virtual and in-person teaching.

Rachel Busbee has five kids at home, four of whom will be doing virtual-only school with Jefferson County Schools. Busbee said she and her husband work full-time, so although her kids are old enough to be home alone, she is not convinced they are going to get their school work done.

“I do worry educationally for the kids because back in March, when they went to virtual, my kids didn’t do anything. I mean they just didn’t do any of the work, didn’t do any of it,” Busbee said.

Busbee said she is stressed and overwhelmed at the thought that she would get home from a long shift in the health care business and then have to help her kids finish their school work.

“I’m home at 7:30 or 8 p.m, so am I going to have to spend the next several hours doing school work and then getting up at 5 a.m. again, and so it’s a huge concern of mine is how we’re going to navigate working full time and doing school with kids,” she said.

For Homewood mom Leslie Cumptan, she decided to have her kids go completely virtual, even though the school district is offering a staggered schedule with in-person teaching.

“I feel it’s going to be even more structured this time and that teachers are more prepared for virtual school. They had more time to prepare so that’s how we came to the decision. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. It’s going to be stressful but my husband and I are planning right now,” Cumptan said.

Cumptan said she has a desk set up for both of her children and new Google Chromebook laptop computers.

“We’re just trying to get ready and talk to them about what each day will look like and we’re telling them we’re treating it like real school. You’re going to get up early, go to bed early, be ready at certain times and sit at your desk. They’ll have all their school supplies and be organized just as if they were going to regular school,” she said.

Allie Black has children in Mountain Brook Schools. She said her daughter is doing the staggered schedule, but she prefers for kids to be in school full-time.

“My biggest issue with virtual is these kids are exposed to screen time so much all day long beyond learning for academics. It’s going to be like drone city over here if everyone is staring at a screen all day long and I’m very encouraged we try it for 4 weeks and then we’re reevaluating,” Black said.

Black said she’s thankful her child in elementary school is going back to school five days a week and hopes the staggered schedule doesn’t last too long.

“We think for children, they have got to be back in school. There is not going to be a lot of education when they go virtually and we all know that but thankfully Mountain Brook has decided to try it for four weeks and I’m hopeful after the four weeks we’ll go back to school 100% full time and get rid of the virtual situation. However, I do value for families who are very nervous to be able to choose a virtual option,” she said.


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