GREENSBORO, N.C. — High school students learning remotely are struggling just weeks into the start of the new semester.
There’s a new remote learning schedule for ninth, tenth and eleventh graders in the Guilford County School District. Instead of the usual 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. schedule, students are now online from 10 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.
School board members tell FOX8 the revised remote learning schedule was created to fight learning loss in the district. But it hasn’t been easy for everyone, especially those waiting on new devices.
“It stresses me out, and they’re giving us more work now,” said GCS tenth grader Jason Jankovic, “my eyes hurt just staring at the computer all day.”
We first met Jason and his mom Belkis two months ago as the pair struggled with their third school-issued computer. Now with the longer learning schedule, Belkis told FOX8 it’s making remote learning almost unbearable for her son.
“We barely made it on the last one [semester]. Now it’s more time, more of a workload. How do you expect parents to get through this when they couldn’t get through the other semester?” Belkis asked.
The new schedule has ninth through eleventh graders learning from 10 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Monday through Friday, unlike last semester where students were able to use Fridays as catch-up days.
“So basically the weekends are what they use to catch up on their work. Like Friday he was going work until almost 6 p.m. I had to tell him to get off the laptop,” Belkis explained.
Because of connectivity issues, Jason told FOX8 he often spends more time than required completing assignments to stay on track—leaving him with little free time to take a break from the screens.
“Sometimes the sites take forever to load, and it’s not even the WiFi. It’s the school system, and the computer depends on how it loads, and it’s a lot,” Jason stated.
Belkis says the extra work is overwhelming for her family.
School board member Anita Sharpe has heard from several GCS families concerned about the new schedule.
“This is tough. I have two grandchildren in high school, not in Guilford, but they’re in high school, and they’re learning online. It’s hard. It’s hard for teens. The isolation is a big concern. The teen suicide rate is a concern. This has been tough on these kids,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe told FOX8 the board is discussing options to help students.
“We know we need to get them back in school. I’m a proponent of doing that,” Sharpe stated.
“Something’s got to give because by the time school opens up, we’re going to have a lot of students that won’t want to go to school,” Belkis concluded.
On Feb. 8, the Guilford County School District will be opening some of its school buildings as learning centers again.
High school students that are failing at least one class will be contacted by their counselors to sign up for the extra help.
As for the shipment of 25,000 new devices that was expected this week, Belkis told us she got a call from the district Monday morning saying the laptop she and her son have been waiting on since October has been delayed.
We reached out to Guilford County Schools to find out if that shipment is on hold. We are waiting for a response.