One year after pandemic, educators grapple with virtual learning challenges

One year after pandemic, educators grapple with virtual learning challenges

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - It’s one year after the pandemic began. Schools were thrown into virtual learning and educators are still working to overcome the challenges.

Dougherty County schools are rising above difficulties their students faced while learning virtually.

Dougherty County was already a 1:1 school district before the pandemic hit, which means students already had devices like iPads for virtual learning. They still had to address things like poor internet access and the emotional toll virtual learning had on students.

One of their first challenges was making sure all students had access to the internet.

“Of course, you know, if you are at home and you have the device, but you don’t have the internet, then that’s a challenge,” said Superintendent Kenneth Dyer. “We did a survey and 60 percent of our kids didn’t have access to reliable internet. So, what we agreed to, our board, was to acquire hotspots with unlimited data.”

Schools across the nation reported a rise in failing grades during the pandemic.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer says about half of the student body is continuing virutal learning.
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer says about half of the student body is continuing virutal learning. (Source: WALB)

“We do have some students who have fallen behind and we have plans to provide targeted support to bring them back to where they need to be,” he said.

Some of that could be due to distractions in the home.

“You have toys, you have television, you have the normal things that go on in a home. Ideally, you would have a student go to his or her room or a quiet place in the home where they can focus. That’s not always possible,” Dyer said.

In response, they introduced more hands-on activities. Dyer said the school is also introducing emotional support activities for students who are struggling with change and loss during the pandemic.

“We suffered through it; we came through it. It looks like we’re on the other side right now and I can’t wait until we can all celebrate together.”

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