TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT )- Topeka Public Schools are going back to remote learning after only two weeks of students meeting back in person. With COVID-19 numbers still on the rise, the district decided this was the best method to keep students and staff safe.
“It’s sad. We want them here but we need to keep them safe,” said Kathy Cooney, the principal at McCarter Elementary.
Starting on January 19, students will resume classes through an online learning plan. Some staff members told KSNT News that they feel prepared for making this process an easy transition for the students. They have a new outlook on technology after using the devices for a majority of the first half of the school year and they have more outlets for students and parents to get assistance if they need it.
“My staff is bringing a different level of confidence this time to the table,” said Angela Pomeroy, the principal at Jardine Elementary. “They did in November too, but this time they’re like, ‘okay we’re ready to go. I can lesson plan for that’.”
Staff members say with remote learning, teachers become part of their students homes. Most of the students said they will miss being around their teachers and friends in the classroom, but the two weeks they all had together was beneficial for teachers.
“We were able to gather some data,” Cooney said. “We can do everything over zoom that we can do in person but it sure is a lot easier to maybe test our littles for reading comprehension and things like that.”
Some students at the elementary school level will continue to attend school in person. These are students who might need extra help or have learning barriers that prevent them from learning remotely.
The district also said that students in higher grades catch on to the technology quicker, but they have methods to keep the younger students engaged on the computer. One example of this is using ‘reactions’ or ’emojis’ on Zoom calls.