CPS grandmother starts virtual learning pod group

1 month 1 week 2 days ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 3:28:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
By: Alyssa Jackson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA — This school year, some parents are responsible for juggling jobs and helping teach their children outside the classrooms.

For some, this is a challenging task without the support of other parents or other kids who can socialize together.

“As a kid in school and that being the only school that you have and that you're supposed to do, it was just a struggle,” said Wendy Lane, grandmother of an elementary school student in the Columbia Public School District. “He's sitting there looking at The TV and the PlayStation and going, ‘I don't want to do this, I want to do that’."

On Monday, CPS board members approved hybrid learning, a third option they will re-evaluate closer to the start of school. Parents still have a lot of questions they need answered to prepare their kids for the year.

Since Lane has worked from home for four years, she decided to help create a page for parents to consider virtual learning pods. 

“If they wanted to do you know, one person's house for three days and then start over with the first person, you know, and go from there," she said. "It’s just an option for people that, you know, maybe don't have the money for daycare or can't get daycare assistance, but they're not making enough money to pay for daycare out of pocket either. I know there's so many people that are struggling right now.”

The idea is still in the beginning stages, but Lane said it will be up to each group to decide how they want to organize the school day. 

Lane and the other group creator are still figuring out how to background check parents who will watch children and what sanitary protocols to enforce. 

“We need to know who the other parents are that's why, you know, if you have friends I would think you already know them you can make a small pod,” Lane said. 

“Even kids that are homeschooled don't even do school for that long at home during the day. That's why I'm really curious to see what the online platform is going to be.”

They will continue to wait for CPS to give more details on the online learning format to make specific decisions.

“It would probably all also depend on how they're setting up the online because I really have no idea what that's gonna look like. I'm guessing every kid would need their own computer and so that might be a challenge for some people as well.”

CPS does plan to issue iPads to all K-8th graders. High school students get laptops for learning as well. Schools will distribute them at the end of the month to students who don't already have theirs.

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