Virus Outbreak-Parents as Educators

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Back to the books and back to the boards. Keyboards, that is.

With the school year coming up, districts across the state are gearing up for online learning, but some families are facing challenges because not everybody has access to the proper equipment and a stellar internet connection.

“For families who have the opportunity to have a strong signal they have less challenge to face than ones in more rural areas and those are infrastructure issues that expand on a larger scale,” said John Klinger, Superintendent of Tawas Area Schools.

Tawas Area Schools are located in Iosco County.

Klinger says they have around 1,200 students and thanks a problem the district started in 2015 that provides each student with a Chromebook. The concern is connecting to the internet.

“In our community, you don’t have to go far from the city area to start experiencing connectivity issues,” said Klinger.

He says when schools had to close in March, they relied on paper packets, emails and phone calls.

This summer they came up with a plan involving flash drives with lessons, videos and worksheets.

“So, if they do have issues, when we upload all the information to the drives,” said Klinger. “They can work offline with that flash drive – put all that information back on there and then submit that flash drive back to our teachers.”

Klinger also said the district is talking with local businesses with strong WiFi to see if they can help families with connection issues in a worst case scenario.

“And at least use the WiFi from the parking lots for short durations of time so they can upload or transfer work,” said Klinger.

They’re finalizing their plans for what they first day of school will look like.

Right now, they want to offer both options of face-to-face and online learning.   

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