By Carolyn Marnon – As the first day of school loomed large, parents were busy establishing “classrooms” in their homes for their children. No one could have imagined at the start of 2020 that after taking memorable pictures of their children posing with signs, bought and handmade, declaring age and grade of each child, that the child would then step back inside the house and start school. No walking to school. No running up to friends unseen all summer (or shall we say since schools shut down in March?) No hugging their new teachers.
Wayne resident Alexandria Offer set up desks in her dining room, one for each of her four children. Her youngest school-aged child, Steven, who started Kindergarten, had some problems staying interested after a bit each day on the first few days of school, but Alexandria says that’s due to his intellectual disabilities. Otherwise, everyone did really well. The kids love their specials. “They’re a little bummed about not having face to face interactions with their classmates and teachers,” she said, “but overall they are enjoying their set-ups. I feel like Wayne-Westland really put some time into figuring out these classes. They have all been very easy to navigate and my older ones remember using all of this from last year, so they’re pretty self-sufficient.”
There have been some issues with getting Chromebooks to students who need them. With the high demand for mobile technology across the nation, the supply chain is strained. The school district has not received their latest shipment which has delayed some students from getting started. The school district has assured parents in a letter that went out that assignment due dates will be extended.
Shery McIntyre commented, “I am looking forward to at least some form of school to begin. We purchased a cheap desk and chair so she (her daughter) could at least have a place to study, and she is so excited to be doing some form of school. Her teacher, the school principal, and the school district have kept us informed during this difficult time. This is a new norm for all of us and hopefully we can return to learning the way we are used to.”
“For my high school senior,” said Jason Powers, “he got a gaming computer last Christmas, so he will be using that for his schooling this year. We had to buy a web camera to hook up to it for class sessions, an additional monitor so that he can use one monitor for the class and the other to type or look up assignments on, and a recording microphone. He is going to be doing a class second semester that he will need this so that he can talk in class sessions.”
Wayne-Westland teacher and parent Michelle Tackett-Braden says, “My daughter gets to spend her time out of her room at a desk in the main hall while her mom (Michelle) has taken over the dining room/office/classroom. It’s going to take a lot of patience in the beginning from everyone while the kinks get worked out.” She went on, “I think once things get rolling and routines are established, we’ll be fine. I know students and parents will feel inundated with tons of emails and posts in Google Classroom. We all need to be as positive in our attitudes as we approach this school year. The kids emulate what we do first.”
Distance Learning throughout the district will last at least through the end of the first quarter October 23.