Rochester, N.Y. — The likelihood that students will return to school full time is decreasing as COVID cases increase.
For many parents, the burdensome process of remote learning is beginning to take a toll.
“It’s hard,” said Deanna Gigliotti, a mother of two in Greece. “I can’t imagine having to work and try and do this. So, it takes all my focus.”
Some parents worry this new normal will have a lasting negative impact. A lot of students thrive with hands-on learning – face-to-face interactions with their peers and teachers – and that’s just something they’re not really getting staring at a screen.
On top of that, a lot of parents have found the remote model is putting more on their plates.
For months now, Gigliotti has been taking on more work.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” she said.
Since her two daughters began remote learning, she’s been brushing up her reading, writing, and arithmetic, and keeping a watchful eye while they work.
“My oldest daughter, she’s in fifth grade, and she is actually thriving,” she said. “My youngest daughter is in third grade, and she’s easily distracted. So I have to really keep on her.”
Playing teacher’s aide is a stressful job.
“So, me being on her case a lot, I have a little bit of guilt about that. But, I also know she needs to get this done. So, it’s a little bit frustrating,” she said.
The Children’s Agenda says those feelings are not unique.
“I know a lot of parents are stressed. This is such a burdensome time,” said Eamonn Scanlon, education policy director for The Children’s Agenda.
He said Gigliotti is making the best of a situation that’s far from ideal, and also says the remote model could set back an entire generation of children.
“We won’t know until we institute state and federal testing again to really get to the root of what the losses have been,” Scanlon said. “But some estimates are several months to even a year or more of learning loss for some students.”
Rochester mother of three Sara Abrams has been sharing the educational duties with her husband, rotating who is in earshot as 6-year-old Declan does his work from home.
“What we’ve started to do is hold back a little bit in terms of how involved we are with his schooling,” she said.
At times, Abrams says holding back can be a challenge – but also beneficial.
“I’m letting him be a little bit uncomfortable right now. We are letting him struggle a little bit because that’s how you learn,” Abrams said.
Every child’s situation is different, and not every parent can offer the educational support their child needs. Scanlon says if you or your student are struggling to make remote learning work, reach out to your school district for guidance.
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The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.