Online learning taking a toll on parents, students, teachers


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way students and teachers are interacting, sometimes not for the better.

Many school districts across the state are reporting students are getting lower grades than they did during normal in-person instruction. In some cases, students are failing classes.

Just recently, nearly half of third to 12th grade students in Wilson County Schools failed a class this school year while taking virtual classes, the school’s data shows. The official count was 46%, WRAL-TV reported. That’s more than double the rate from the same period last year.

The first quarter of the school year for students was entirely remote. Elementary and middle school students then transitioned into hybrid learning.

Superintendent Dr. Lane Mills said in a statement that the outcome is “not what we want for our students and system.”

“However, we also recognize that this pattern is happening across the state in all systems,” he said. “We are now on a path where many of our students are back in face-to-face instruction and are becoming more accustomed to online learning.”

Other school administrators said this year has been difficult because of the challenges of technology and remote instruction. Still, they are doing what they can to get through the academic year.

“Our students are living through the most disruptive school year of their life because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Onslow County Schools Deputy Superintendent Beth Fogler.

“Our numbers show that we are overall as a district up a little less than 10% of where we were last year in the percentage of students who have an F or failing one of more courses.”

“We’ve never expected it to be this long,” Duplin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan said. “We thought it was going to be a temporary transition.

“Our teachers are taking necessary and relevant professional development. We also tried to provide social and emotional learning support for our students because everyone is experiencing this in a different way.”

With that, administrators realize there’s more to stress about than just math tests and English exams.

“Grades don’t end up making it to the top of their list of worries, but it’s not because they don’t care about learning,” Fogler said. “It’s because they have so much going on in their lives during a pandemic.”

Obasohan had a message for employees, parents and students.

“Let’s finish this game, let’s hang in there, we’re going to be all right,” Obasohan said.

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