MSEA President says this is true when it come to internet access.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Even though teachers have been very creative in keeping up the learning among their students, while schools are closed, they’ve come across a number of inequities among their students. That’s according to Cheryl Bost, the President of the Maryland State Education Association.
She says this is especially true when it comes to internet access. “We have students who don’t have computers or tablets to be able to engage in any type of virtual learning,” she says. “We have many parts across the state–not only just in our urban areas, but in our rural areas–who don’t have even access to the network”
Bost says is especially true in parts of western Maryland. “The towers are not set for cellphone access, or broadband or WiFi access. So we’re learning about the deficits,” she says.
More must be done to provide internet access throughout the state, Bost says.
Other problems which result for students being too long away from school is they develop the stresses that many of their parents are dealing with as a result of the economic slowdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Children are in families right now where they’re waiting in line all day to get food, or their parents are working all day because they’re essential employees and trying to make ends meet,” says Bost. “Others are faced with unemployment stress.”
In many counties, including Frederick County, school systems are providing breakfast, lunch and dinners to go for students who might be going without during this coronavirus pandemic.
But despite all the distance learning opportunities, Bost says many children would love to get back to school. “When the students are home and they’re are isolated from their friends and their teachers, that takes a toll. It takes a toll on us as adults and even more so as children,” she says.
Along with that, Bost says nothing beats the learning experience for students in the classroom. “Distance learning cannot replace what we have in person in schools. There’s so much to deal with interactive, science labs, reading circles,” she says. “But teachers and educators are prepared professionals and are reaching out just to make sure they can contact that student in that family.”
Schools have been closed in Maryland since March 16th to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
By Kevin McManus