Sunday, December 4, 2022

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ABSS parents voice continuing concerns about inadequacy of remote, online-only, instruction – and its impact on their children

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a longer story about many (almost 40%) ABSS students having failed at least one course during the first nine-week grading period last fall.  Read that full story here:https://alamancenews.com/almost-40-of-abss-middle-parents-press-for-return-to-in-classroom-instruction/

[While statistics show the growing failure rate for middle and high school students who did not pass one or more of their courses during first grading period last fall, parents of students at all levels continue to voice concerns about the limitations of online-only instruction on their children.]

ABSS parents have repeatedly complained to school board members throughout the fall about the detrimental effects that they believe remote-only instruction will have on their children’s education.

“They wake up and get on the screen between 8 [and] 11 hours a day. It is a like job you hate and don’t get paid for and have to sit in isolation day in and day out; 12 and 13-year-olds are not designed to do that.”

– Parent joshua whitley of Graham

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Joshua Whitley of Graham told school board members, during the public comment portion of their regular meeting last month, that his two middle school students had always made As and Bs until this year. “Now both are having failing grades and barely passing,” Whitley wrote in an email that he submitted to be read aloud into the record during the public comment period. “They have nothing to look forward to. They wake up and get on the screen between 8 [and] 11 hours a day. It is a like job you hate and don’t get paid for and have to sit in isolation day in and day out; 12 and 13-year-olds are not designed to do that. Social interactions for teenagers are not things parents can make up for. My children are having to teach themselves, just like so many other kids are having to do for a virus that really does not affect them at all.”

“It is absurd to think a child can benefit from remote learning in any comparable form to in-person education.”

– Parent Lucas Reid of Graham

Lucas Reid of Graham, who has an elementary school student and a high school student in ABSS schools, expressed similar frustrations in an email he submitted for the public comment portion of the school board’s latest monthly meeting. “These children are suffering through this remote learning, while sacrificing their education,” he wrote. “It is absurd to think a child can benefit from remote learning in any comparable form to in-person education. These children are our future, and their most critical years are being sacrificed for a virus with a very high survival rate. The cure for this pandemic cannot be worse than the virus itself, but so far has cost countless small business closures, crippled our economy, and now is cost our kids their education.”

“The private schools are successfully [implementing] a successful in-person environment.  I suggest you find out how they are doing this and implement it immediately.”

– Lezlee Rutchka of Graham

Lezlee Rutchka of Graham asserted in an email she submitted for the public comments portion of last month’s school board meeting that “by not allowing children to attend school in person,” school officials are exposing them to dangers far worse than COVID-19, such as mental health problems and child abuse. “Do you realize how many suicides have occurred/will occur due to social isolation and great frustration with online learning?” Rutchka wrote. “These children cannot bear this any longer.”

Rutchka wrote that she finds “it hard to believe that cyber-learning is giving children the building blocks and complete education that they need to progress to the next grade level.” She also offered a stern warning for any school board members who might vote against any plan to bring students back to school for in-person instruction. “I think you should be held responsible for any suicide attempts, child abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, and any other grave issues that occur…The private schools are successfully [implementing] a successful in-person environment. I suggest you find out how they are doing this and implement it immediately.”

“Staring at a computer 8 hours a day is not normal for children.”

– Parent Stasha gilley of elon

Stasha Gilley of Elon pointed to ongoing problems with Zoom, one of the teleconferencing systems that ABSS and other school systems use to provide online instruction. “Zoom is very inconsistent and not reliable,” Gilley wrote in an email she submitted for the public comment period last month. “If Zoom is functioning, there are students coming in late and the teacher has to start over to get that child caught up. Staring at a computer 8 hours a day is not normal for children. My daughter cannot stay focused and is constantly doing other things. Private schools have been in-person with masks on, with no major outbreaks. Please make the right decision for our children’s mental health.”

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