Families juggle virtual learning, but worry about return to school next week

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Li said both her daughters are expected to be online for about an hour through Google Meets at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every school day. But for her younger girl, morning check-ins have already seen technological glitches.

“This morning, her technology basically just shut down. She was visibly stressed. It was heartbreaking watching her. Many kids were struggling, moms were trying to come into the screens.

“But there’s really nothing anybody can do, it just depends on how much training each teacher has been given.”

Li said that while her family has been able to manage, sharing laptops and sharing bandwidth among two working parents, she wonders about students who may not have access to technology or even the internet.

Mom Krista Li and her family, including two daughters in Grade 2 and Grade 6 at St. Joan of Arc School.

Medeana Moussa, spokeswoman for Support Our Students, said since the fall her family has stretched their budget to purchase improved, high-speed internet, additional laptops and a new desk.

Still, juggling three elementary-aged kids is a struggle.

“I forgot how hard this was in the spring,” said Moussa.

“But there is a lot less flexibility this time. Attendance is being taken, everyone has to log in at a specific time, and I have to make sure everyone is logged in and busy.

“So I’m not able to work as much, but at least I have some flexibility.

“I don’t know how families whose parents have to work outside the home are doing it.”

Rising cases of COVID-19 in the fall forced all grade 7 to 12 students to online learning Nov. 30. After Christmas break, kids in grades K-6 are also virtual learners for the first week of January, with expectations that all students who originally registered for in-person learning will go back to the classroom next Monday.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange tweeted on Monday “this morning students across the province transitioned to online learning. Recognizing the importance of in-person learning students will return to the classroom January 11.”

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