ALBEMARLE CO., Va. (WVIR) - A new survey from the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University found that even though majority of parents in Virginia are satisfied with the way their child’s school district has responded to COVID-19, roughly 75% are worried about their child falling behind while learning in a mostly virtual environment.
“These parents are feeling like, well the school system might be doing the best they can in this environment, but they feel like their children are not be really understanding the material or that they’re not getting the best education possible in a normal circumstance,” said Research Director Rebecca Brumley-Trujillo.
She and other researchers found after surveying more than 900 Virginians, 64% of parents with children in K-12 learning are pleased with how their school has responded to the pandemic and transitioned online. But, roughly three out of four parents are worried that no matter how well educators have prepared for a shift in learning, their child is not receiving the same quality of learning that they’re used to.
“We did studies on virtual learning prior to the pandemic. We know that, on average, it’s harder to teach things like math in particular virtually, so I think a lot of parents are feeling like, maybe my kid doesn’t understand math the way they’re supposed to,” Brumley-Trujillo said.
Brumley-Trujillo said students in special education classes, ESL programs and those who were struggling in school before the pandemic are more likely to see the biggest losses.
Jack Jouette Middle School Principal Ashby Johnson says, however, every student is different, and that learning assessments can determine why a student is faltering or succeeding in a virtual learning environment.
“Some students are thriving in a virtual learning environment, and others are not, and many are surviving. So, it really helps us pinpoint where each student and family are so we can help them be successful so we can help them grow as a person and as a learner.”
Johnson and other educators are trying to connect with and support students and their families as much as possible.
“We do frequent home visits, and so we’re able to drop in and safely visit students and their families, to see what they need or help with any troubleshooting, bring materials to them,” Johnson said. “We do that a lot throughout the week, especially on Fridays. The counseling and administrative team and some teachers have taken that on and that’s been a big help to us to really determine what the kids need.”
Johnson is encouraging parents and guardians to reach out to their child’s school if they are worried about their child’s success, both in and out of the classroom, noting that many administrators and counselors have access to outside resources that the school itself may not be able to provide.
“Reach out to your school or reach out to somebody that you trust that’s in that building if you’re struggling or if your child is struggling,” Johnson said.